Yang Jia: Stranger than Fiction

Time China blog looks at a bizarre twist in the case of Yang Jia, who became an Internet hero after being sentenced to death for killing six police officers in Shanghai:

Liu Xiaoyuan, a Beijing lawyer who has been closely following the case, reported on Monday that the cop killer’s mother, Wang Jingmei, has finally emerged in public after disappearing for four months. According to Liu’s blog, Wang was secretly kept in a psychiatric hospital run by the Beijing Police Bureau throughout the prosecution of her son. A female officer who answered the phone at Beijing’s Office of Compulsory Treatment –which is responsible for cases like Wang’s–refused to comment or give her name when contacted Wednesday.

Wang’s disappearance, which came after her visit to a police station to help in the investigation of her son, has heightened skepticism about the case and raised questions about Liu’s allegation that the police might have kidnapped her to prevent her testifying in her son’s case. (For example, artist and blogger Ai Weiwei argued here that Wang might be the only person who knows the details of how her son was beaten by the Shanghai cops in 2007 and the ensuing negotiation process between the police and Yang over that beating, all of which took place before the murders.) In Wang’s absence, the court overrode accusations of police misconduct and put Yang on death row.


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