China ex-official held over rapes after web anger

Police arrested an ex-Communist Party official in central China on suspicion of raping at least 10 underage girls, authorities said Sunday, in a case that has sparked a storm of Internet anger.

Li Xingong, the former deputy director of the party committee in Yongcheng city, Henan province, was arrested over the alleged sexual assaults on girls aged under 18, said a statement from the authorities.

The case will be treated seriously "without leniency in accordance with the law", the authorities said. "An investigation is under way and as soon as there is any progress, it will be announced."

The news prompted thousands of outraged comments from Chinese web users, who are increasingly confident in voicing anger about alleged wrongdoing by officials from China's ruling Communist Party.

"Fine party cadre. Good leader of the people," said Wang Delong on Sina's weibo, a microblog similar to Twitter.

On the same site, Yawen posted: "An official again!"

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