A Chengdu court has sentenced two police officers to prison terms for causing the death of a child whose mother was in custody, Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Li Siyi, 3, starved to death in her locked home in the days after her mother Li Guifang was taken into custody for petty theft and drug addiction, because police officers Wang Xin and Huang Xiaobin failed to ensure that someone took care of the child.
The two officers were convicted of dereliction of duty. Wang Xin, deputy head of the Chengjiao police station in Jintang County, was sentenced to three years in prison, while Huang Xiaobin, an officer assigned to the same station, was sentenced to two years.
Evidence presented in the Xindu District Court indicated that on June 4, 2003, Huang Xiaobin caught Li Guifang stealing two bottles of shampoo. When they discovered the same day that Li was a drug addict, police sent her to the Chengdu Drug Rehabilitation Center.
On her way to the center, Li asked Wang Xin to call her sister to ask her to take care of Li Siyi, who was at home alone.
Wang informed the police station in Li's community about the situation. On June 5, Wang asked Huang Xiaobin to check the girl's condition, but Huang said he had already informed the police station.
On June 21, Li Siyi's decomposing body was found in her locked home.
The case triggered public anger as well as attention from provincial leaders of Sichuan.
(Shenzhen Daily August 23, 2004)