Photo of Bao Yuming.
Chinese-American lawyer Bao Yuming, who was suspected of sexually assaulting his "teenage adopted daughter," has been cleared of the charges but faces deportation from China as he hid his American citizenship when applying to retain his lawyer's certificate, Chinese authorities announced Thursday.
Bao, 48, a Tianjin native of US nationality, entered the spotlight in April after he was suspected of sexually assaulting a teenager under his guardianship since 2015. The "victim" surnamed Han accused Bao of raping her when she was underage, restricting her personal freedom.
The case infuriated the Chinese public. The country's top judicial body opened an investigation into the case, and the results were announced on Thursday.
The investigation found that Han lied about her age and there was not enough evidence of forced sexual relations or restriction of liberty, as Han asserted, during the course of their relationship. The adoption relationship did not exist as they did not go through a legal process, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on its official WeChat account.
Han was over 18 years old when she first had sexual relations with Bao. She reported the case when she had quarrels with Bao and revoked it when the conflict was resolved, and repeated this process multiple times. There is no evidence of Bao cutting off Han's connections with the outside world, authorities said.
Local government organs that helped Han change her age on her ID card and household registration are also under investigations, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said. Some 12 officials involved in the change have already been punished.
However, Bao, as a Beijing-based lawyer, knew that he and Han do not meet the requirement for adoption, but still interacted and had sexual relations with Han under the guise of adoption, which is a serious violation of public order and social morality and deserves public condemnation, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said.
Current evidence showed Bao did not know Han's real age and thought she was a teenager when they developed a relationship. Although there was not enough evidence to support putting Bao in jail, netizens noted that it seems Bao is nonetheless a pedophile.
Despite being cleared of sexual assault charges, Bao was found to have been illegally practicing as a lawyer since 2006 when he attained US nationality. Bao submitted fake materials to retain his lawyer's certificate in China, which can only be granted to Chinese nationals. The certificate was revoked on September 11, the Beijing Judicial Bureau said on Thursday.
The government is probing the lax management of law firms that Bao was affiliated with, said the bureau.
The Chinese Ministry of Justice in July announced that it was cracking down on attorneys who engage in illegal part-time jobs and other misconduct, singling out Bao.
Because of Bao's behavior and misconduct, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security decided to deport him in accordance with Article 3 and 81 of China's Exit and Entry Administration Law.
Article 3 stipulates that foreigners in China must abide by Chinese laws, and shall not … harm public interests and disrupt social and public order.
Article 81 stated that foreigners who violate Chinese laws or regulations may be ordered to exit China within a certain time period. If the violation is serious but does not constitute a crime, the Ministry of Public Security may deport them. The penalty decision made by the ministry is final.
Deported foreigners are not allowed to enter China within 10 years of the date of deportation.