The storm over Song Shanmu’s suspected rape case continues. On 24 December 2010, the Luohu District People’s Court found Song guilty of rape and sentenced Song Shanmu to 4 years’ imprisonment. Song objected in court and appealed on 4 January 2011. Song then held a press conference to read out his “appeal letter” written by him in the detention centre, stating he had deleted all images on his camera before 4 May 2010 because he needed more space on his memory card to record videos of the Communist Party School to show his friends. The defence attorney questioned the process of arriving at the judgment. In an interview, the victim Luo Yun refuted Song’s claims, saying that the relevant details of the dispute have been repeated many times and Song Shanmu already had opportunity to make all his denials. She hoped that the court of appeal would respect the facts and pass the same judgement.
The press conference was held in Shenzhen Futian Guangdong Chenggong Law Firm. Gan Yongming, one of Song Shanmu’s attorneys and the director of the firm, attended the meeting. Shanmu trained employees Ms Lu alias Huang Jinqiang (company given name) and another employee Ms Li rushed join in afterwards. They faced questioning from nearly 10 news media.
Lawyer Gan Yongming said that Song Shanmu was sentenced to 4 years in the first instance. He expressed objection to the court ruling and went on to work on his appeal. On 4 January, he filed an appeal to court, calling for the verdict to be overturned, acquitting Song Shanmu. He also called for Luo Yun’s civil litigation to be dismissed. He pointed out that there were errors in the interpretation of the evidence and the application of the law. He alleged that the existing evidence was insufficient to prove the crime of rape as charged by the prosecutors.
Gan Yongming presented the original handwritten appeal to the media and distributed copies of it. Song Shanmu wrote a full 7 sheets of manuscript paper with a blue pen. There were many wrongly written words, and many places were altered. Song Shanmu divided the appeal grounds into 8 parts. The eighth part was subtitled, “It is said that it is socially and politically necessary to judge me harshly.” That part suggested that the court may have passed a guilty verdict on him due to the pressure of public opinion. Then, to sound like a noble, victimised matryr, he also wrote “If it is really like Luo Yun’s lawyer said that my guilt can promote harmony, since celebrities have a great influence, then I will sacrifice for the good of society and admit it. Otherwise, I will fight to the death to prove my innocence.”
Perhaps the seven pages of manuscript can be summed up thus: “As long as any woman who is unhappy after sex can claim that it was rape, the man will be found guilty. This is the potential tragedy faced by every Chinese man. It also violates Chinese law. I look forward to the judgement of the city’s Intermediate People’s Court. This is the last line of defence for the innocent to protect themselves from being “held hostage” by the media. A fair judgement should be made based on facts and the law.”
At the press conference, lawyer Gan Yongming questioned the verdict of the lower court. Three employees from Sun Moon Education Group also attended the press conference. Their statements trigger strong objection from victim Luo Yun.
Among the three employees was a female employee named “Huang Jinqiang” by the company. She was responsible for human resource at Sun Moon Education. After the incident, she was questioned with regards to her relationship with Song Shanmu. Huang and an employee surnamed Li revealed to the media about the difficulties the company faced after the incident. A female teacher surnamed Lu appeared with them at the same time. Her statement attracted the most attention of the media.
“I started teaching at Shanmu in 1997. The so-called ‘Luo Yun’ was also my student. She was arrogant and rarely communicated with us, but she was very close to those foreign teachers. The specifics of the case are not very clear, but many colleagues and I later learned that Luo Yun and a foreign teacher named Stewart lived together, and Stewart’s girlfriend who came with him to China broke up with Stewart and returned to China for this reason. When Luo Yun went to Dongguan on a holiday recently, she was escorted by Stewart. This incident makes me think this girl is unusual. How could she still have the heart to fall in love while fighting a lawsuit?”
The teacher emphasized that she currently only teaches part-time courses in Sun Moon and has no vested interests defending Song Shanmu.
Ms. Lu’s statement triggered questioning by the media at the scene. Her statements were subsequently refuted by Luo Yun: “It was my father who sent me to Dongguan. I don’t know what she meant by nonsense. If she keeps bringing up untrue statements to question my lifestyle and defame me, I will sue her!”
No Intimate Relationship
Song Shanmu pointed out that there was no hard evidence of rape that could be provided. However, there was also no evidence that there was any relationship between Song Shanmu and Luo Yun. There was no evidence that they had gone out on dates etc.
Gan Yongming pointed out that Shanmu had bought Luo Yun medicines for treating athlete’s foot and returned Luo Yun a 200 yuan fine for violating the company’s internal regulations. Luo Yun had saved Shanmu’s number and the two parties had met alone at the gym when the gym was closed, Luo Yun confided in Song Shanmu that she wanted to break up with her boyfriend. Shanmu told her, “When I’m free, I’ll cheer you up.”
The communication logs between Luo Yun and her boss clearly show that there was nothing to suggest that they had an intimate relationship. The only time they had a meaningful conversation/discussion was at the gym. She felt a need to talk to him then as she wanted to quit her job. She did not tell him the true reason, so she gave the excuse that she had relationship issues. In reality, she could not tolerate the company’s culture and regulations.
Why she disposed of her panties
Luo Yun’s actions after the incident was also taken into consideration during sentencing. Luo Yun was depressed when she returned to the dormitory after being raped. She threw her soiled panties into the rubbish bin as a sign of her disgust. She then told her boyfriend about being raped and threatened with nude photos. She was sleepless the entire night.
Gan Yongming said that Luo Yun did not go to the police that night. It was only after talking on the phone with her boyfriend three times, did she report the crime at 6 am on 4 May 2010. He also questioned that throwing away of her underwear is not evidence of disgust. “It is reasonable to say that if you decide to report the case, you should keep this important piece of evidence. Why did you want to throw it away? Did you throw it away to destroy evidence after reporting the case?”
Luo Yun explained that she was traumatised and confused at that time. She felt disgusted and impulsively threw her soiled panties away.
How the rape took place
Song Shanmu’s main defence was his “sexual dysfunction”.The petition wrote, “My sexual function is weak, and I can only complete sex when the woman really wants to have an orgasm, otherwise I will not ejaculate. In fact, Luo Yun had two orgasms with a massager for foreplay. I also ejaculated. She said she was pretending, but I didn’t see it, and afterwards she told me that she was better than his boyfriend.”
Luo Yun: “He made all this up. It’s atrocious. He can appeal all he wants, but how could he make up these things? Why didn’t he say that before the judgement of the first instance? She told the Southern Metropolis reporter, “Song Shanmu is desperately resorting every trick in the book now.”
Regarding Shanmu employee Ms Lu’s statement about Luo Yun’s relationship with a foreign teacher, lawyer Luo Yun’s lawyer Li Ying said that he would not rule out the possibility of suing Ms Lu.
Why were the photos deleted?
Song Shanmu’s actions after Luo Yun reported the rape also contributed to Song’s conviction. On 4 May 2010, Song’s girlfriend Ms Chai replaced two hard drives in two of Song Shanmu’s computers. Song’s camera was also found to have all photos taken on and before 4 May 2010 deleted. Luo Yun stated in her statement that Song Shanmu coerced her to take nude photos before committing the rape. These two facts became the indirect basis for the court’s conviction of rape.
Song’s lawyer Gan Yongming said that although it cannot be confirmed now, Song Shanmu asked Ms Chai to help him repair his computers and replace the hard disk as early as May 1, 2010 (but the disks were actually replaced only after 4 May 2010). After the incident, Song claimed that he did not return to the office until the hard disk was replaced. He might not have had the opportunity to remove incriminating evidence.
There are photos of Luo Yun. Song Shanmu explained in the appeal that he had deleted photos taken before the incident to free up memory because he was the Communist Party School and he wanted to take videos of the the place to show his friends. Subsequent data recovery appraisal by the public security organs found no images involved in the case.
Luo Yun’s lawyer Li Ying bluntly denounced Song Shanmu’s statement as laughable. Luo Yun pointed out that it’s a well known fact that Shanmu was a very avid photo enthusiast as even members of the public knew. He shot literally hundreds of images a day and has the habit of carrying dozens of memory cards with him. He was also not in the habit of taking videos. Why would he suddenly decide to take random videos of the Communist Party School if not to overwrite the space occupied by the deleted files?