Death-penalty debate grips China after wrongful execution

Nishubin This is a shocking story, about a wrongful execution only discovered ten years later. (The Globe and Mail’s report is here.) After the story was uncovered and reported by the Henan Business News, Chinese authority quickly issued internal order to control the media’s coverage on this issue. However, this is one of the most heated debates in Chinese Internet chat rooms and blogosphere in last two weeks. In an online scholarly publication China-Review.com, many legal scholars and intellectuals has joined this debate (in Chinese) as well. It is also reported (in Chinese) that the Net police has started to censor debates and comments on this story in Chinese cyberspace.



The following article is from the Southern Weekend (in Chinese) on March 16, 2005. The story was reported by Zhao Ling, translated by D. Owen Young, via Press Interpreter.

Ten years ago, the not-yet-21-year-old Nie Shubin was executed. In these past 10 year years, his family has accepted the facts agreed upon by the police, the investigators, and the justice system: in the summer of 1994, Nie Shubin raped and killed a 38 year old woman in a corn field. This victim, Ms. Kang, was riding her bike through the area at the time.

On April 28th, 1995, Nie Shubin’s father Nie Xuesheng as usual took some things to the facility where his son was being held. The worker at the facility told him that he needn’t come back anymore because his son had been executed the day before. After trial first by the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court and then by the Hebei Province Supreme People’s Court, this young man finally died shouldering two heinous crimes -” rape and intentional homicide.

Ten Year’s Time

On March 16th, 2005, 61 year old Nie Xuesheng let out a doleful, child-like cry, swiping his cane at the approaching reporter in the midst of his cry, saying: “Get out of here! You get out of here! I don’t want to talk about it!” This old man, who has been paralyzed on one side since the death of his son, once made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. Nie Shubin’s mother, Zhang Huanzhi, threw herself onto Nie Shubin’s shallow grave, shrilly crying in the setting sun, “I want my son!”

The change in this whole state of affairs can be traced back to a single cruel discovery. In January of 2005 a Hebei man by the name of Wang Shujin was arrested and confessed to the Hebei Guangping police to committing the rape and murder 10 years ago in that corn field in Shijiazhuang’s Kongzhai village. A representative of the Guangping County Public Security Bureau (PSB) said that Wang Shujin divulged details that closely matched the crime scene.

Once this was uncovered and reported by the Henan Buisness News, the public was immediately in an uproar. Before Hebei officials and the justice department could conclude an investigation, numerous media organizations and netizens** had made a preliminary judgment and come to a consensus -” Nie Shubin had been wrongly executed.

April 7, 2005 12:09 PM
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