Many Chinese raised suspicions that Yang was beaten by police, which Shanghai authorities denied. Police said Yang had rented the stolen bicycle, and he demanded about $1,450 in compensation from authorities for mental anguish.
The legal proceedings and the secretive trial of Yang fanned more criticisms on Internet sites, some of which apparently were blocked or shut down Monday.
“If you and I were Yang Jia, we could be sentenced under such namely legal but unclear ways,” said one posting on a lawyer’s blog. Said another: “They have a guilty conscience, so all the websites closed the comment function for this news. This is red terror.”
Officials at Shanghai police headquarters and the No. 2 People’s Intermediate Court would not comment Monday. It was unclear whether Yang would appeal the ruling. A death sentence faces automatic review by China’s Supreme Court.