June 1 (UPI) -- A Chinese teacher at an elementary school has been sentenced to death for raping several students from 2001 to 2020, the Supreme People's Prosecutor's Office of China said Monday at a press conference.
Chinese authorities said the man, identified only by his surname Yang, raped and molested young girls at Baisha primary school in Luxi County, Hunan Province. Nine students were raped, China's highest prosecution authority said.
The crimes were carried out behind closed doors in offices and classrooms of the school, authorities said.
According to China's Procuratorate Daily, Baisha primary school did not hold Yang and an accomplice with the surname Mi accountable despite growing allegations.
In 2017, parents issued a complaint to the principal and vice principal, but the school did not follow up with an investigation. Yang and Mi continued to terrorize students after 2017, state media said.
Local police in Hunan did not begin investigations until May 2020 after two victims reported the alleged crimes to police.
The Prosecutors' Office said the sentencing occurred in August of last year. Yang was sentenced to death and Mi received a 17-year prison sentence, after authorities concluded Mi joined Yang in the gang rape of a 12-year-old girl, according to the South China Morning Post Tuesday.
Authorities in China did not confirm Tuesday whether Yang's execution already had taken place.
Amnesty International said in a report in April that China is the world's No. 1 executioner, but the government does not publish numbers.
"The true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret," the organization. "The global figure of at least 483 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China."
In February, Wang Shujin, a man convicted of the murder and rape of several women, was executed in Hebei Province, according to China Daily. Wang was convicted after another man, Nie Shubin, was wrongly convicted and executed in 1995. Nie's name was cleared in 2016.