The prosecutor in Wu-chuan, Guangdong province, has lodged a protest against the local court's sentences for seven men convicted of a gang-rape in May 2013 as wrongfully lenient.
The seven men, who were minors at the time, were convicted of gang-raping a then-14-year-old girl in Wuchuan. Five other men were also convicted of raping the girl, but their sentences are not being challenged.
The 12 men stopped the motorcycle she was riding with two other men, beat the girl and the men badly, smashed the motorcycle and then kidnapped the girl, taking her to three different locations to rape her.
The main criminal was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan ($800) by the People's Court of Wuchuan in June. Four others received prison sentences of up to five years and nine months, and the remaining seven were given probation.
The prosecutor has filed the complaints with the Zhanjiang Intermediate People's Court.
Li Binquan, a lawyer at Guangdong Sun Law Firm, is providing the victim's family with pro bono help in lodging a protest against the verdict. He told China Daily on Wednesday that the families are upset about the verdict and he doesn't think it was reasonable.
"The accused should have been given a heavier punishment, considering it was a gang-rape that left the girl with severe psychic trauma and shocked the community," Li said.
"Take the principal criminal as an example. He was charged with rape, robbery and the crime of picking quarrels and provoking trouble. He could have been sentenced to at least 10 years for rape, four years for robbery and five years at most for the last crime. So the sentence of 12 years is too light."
Li said the court might have based the sentences on the fact that the 12 defendants were underage when they committed the crimes.
According to Li, the victim's family has spent more than 200,000 yuan, taxing their savings, on medical care for the girl, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"The family cannot afford to put the girl in a hospital, and her condition is deteriorating. I hope kindhearted people will make donations and hospitals specialised in treating psychic trauma can offer help," Li said.