The Last Straw for Trust in China’s Courts?

At The Atlantic, Jiabao Du explains how a rape and murder trial in Hebei shows a deep lack of faith in China’s courts following a string of high-profile wrongful convictions. Wang Shujin was sentenced to death in 2007 for raping and killing three women. He insists that he is also guilty in a fourth case for which another man, Nie Shubin, was executed in 1995. The courts argue that Wang is simply maneuvering for a lighter sentence, and claim that his story has a number of flaws, but critics from prominent legal scholars to ordinary weibo users have lined up to attack them.

The courts have repeatedly dismissed Wang’s confession and invalidated his appeals upon a finding that Wang’s descriptions of what he said he did deviated significantly from crucial evidence found at the crime scene. The official Sina microblog of the Hebei Provincial High Court listed the contradictions: “1. The neck of the victim was tangled with a floral shirt and Wang Shujin did not mention that in his confession. 2. The victim was smothered while Wang Shujin said he strangled and trampled her to death. 3. The times of murder do not match. 4. The heights of the victim do not match either.”

[…] Even the criminal Wang Shujin, convicted of killing and raping three other women, seemed to be more popular among people than the Hebei court that was determined to affirm his innocence. A popular Weibo user named Writer Tianyou hailed Wang Shujin as a warrior fighting for the reputation of an executed man he never met, while describing the prosecutors as devils. [Source]