Authorities in northwest China admitted there were problems with how the local government handled the case of a missing woman in 2010, whom police discovered recently to be the same victim of a high-profile human trafficking case in Shaanxi Province, China.
Yulin City’s government in Shaanxi Province said it has disciplined 13 cadres from Jiaxian County for their “neglect of duty in population management” in the handling of the 2010 missing person case, reported South China Morning Post. The victim was initially thought to be named Tang Xiaoyu, but the government’s investigation report identified her by her original surname Tao.
“[The case] reflects the weak links in the city’s grass-roots social governance, care for vulnerable groups and management of public services,” the investigation report read. “It also exposes the weaknesses in the abilities of some grass-roots party members and cadres in administering the law and reveals problems including lax work styles.”
The report did not go into details as to what punishments the 13 cadres received.
The woman reportedly went missing in September 2010 when a man with the surname Wu took Tao to his home. Wu and his sister later sold the woman to a local man, Li Limin, for 8,000 yuan (approximately $1,260).
Tao, who is mentally ill, went on to have a son and a daughter with Li. The man reportedly sold their daughter for 30,000 yuan (approximately $4,700) and kept their son.
Tao’s case became high-profile after the WeChat public account Xianshidemuyang (The Look of Reality) shared the incident online, accusing Li of bragging about how he abused his wife.
He reportedly told his 780,000 followers on Kuaishou how he once tied his wife to a chair for three days to make his content interesting. Li’s Kuaishou account was eventually banned.
Citing a witness, Xianshidemuyang alleged the man was seen locking his wife in a steel cage attached to the back of his motorized tricycle. However, the Yulin government’s report rebutted the claim on Wednesday, stating the cage was added to ensure Tao’s safety whenever Li needed to travel.
Li was also accused of causing Tao’s mental disorder as he would often beat and confine her whenever she attempted to flee.
Tao, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia during a mental health evaluation last month, is currently being cared for and receiving counseling, along with her children.
Meanwhile, Wu, his sister and other people involved were arrested on March 10 and are now under investigation on suspicion of abducting and trafficking women. Li is also suspected of buying a trafficked woman.
The Ministry of Public Security launched a year-long national campaign to crack down on human trafficking in the country following the highly publicized case of a mentally disabled mother-of-eight in Jiangsu Province who was found chained by her neck.