Once upon time claimed as China’s ‘Love Mother’, Li Yanxia is now sentenced to 20 years of jail. 54-years old Li Yanxia was charged guilty at Wu’an Court on the case of fraud, forgery, extortion, in addition to disturbing social order.
Li Yanxia is a former orphanage owner and has adopted 118 children. She was also fined 2.67m Yuan, estimating to £311,000; $388,000. Along with her, fifteen of her accomplices were also charged with a case of fraud, this also included her boyfriend, Xu Qi, who was charged with intentional injury, extortion and for disturbing social order. He was sentenced with 12.5 years of jail and was fined 1.2m Yuan. Other accomplices have allegedly been charged with jail term of up to four years.
Sources suggest, Li Yanxia ‘abused the orphanage’s influence.’ According to a statement by Wu’an City People’s Court on microblogging site Weibo, it was recorded; “(Li Yanxia) committed fraud together with the gang amongst other crimes to obtain vast economic benefit.”
In 2006, Li Yanxia became particularly popular when the media spoke lengths about her philanthropist virtues, when she adopted many children from her hometown in the Hebei province. According to her account released in the media, Li Yanxia said, she had been married but divorced and her son was been sold to a trafficker for 7,000 Yuan by her Ex-husband. After having her son back, she had decided to help other children.
Later on, she became one of the richest women in the province and reports also suggest of her investment in an iron mining company, which she later owned. Li Yanxia also adopted several children and opened an orphanage which she named “Love Village”. Some of her reports in the media also state that she had battled cancer and spent all her wealth.
In 2017, she had 118 children under her care. During the same year, police had received reports of suspicious activities in her endeavors. 20 million Yuan and $20,000 were found in her bank accounts. Furthermore she also owned a Mercedes Benz and a Land Rover.
Later on it came to light that she was engaged in illegal activities since 2011.Some reports suggest she used the children to obstruct work at construction sites and then blackmailed the construction companies. One incident suggest of making the children run under trucks, in order to hamper the construction work.
Li Yanxia was under detention since May 2017 and the 74 children under her care were then transferred to other government facilities. Social media sites in China have criticized her actions severely, calling her a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing.’