China in a No-win Situation in Norwegian Slaying

The Los Angeles Times reports on a murder of a Norwegian student, who was allegedly killed by her Chinese boyfriend who has since been released by Chinese authorities before being tried:

When was learned this month that Chinese had freed the suspect, despite an apparent confession, many Norwegians saw the move as a blatant act of retaliation by China for the Oslo-based Nobel committee having awarded its annual peace prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

But as more facts emerge, the case appears to center on another political difference between and China: capital punishment, which China frequently employs but which European Union members have abolished.

In fact, EU opposition to the penalty includes restrictions on providing evidence to other countries in cases where the accused could face execution.

Since Hungary didn’t hand over evidence in the stabbing death of 21-year-old Pernille Marie Thronsen, whose body was found in a Budapest youth hostel, Chinese authorities said they had no grounds to continue holding Zhao Fei, who had flown home to China shortly after the killing.

“This is a unique case,” said Tang Hongxin, a criminal defense attorney. “Although he turned himself into police and might have confessed, the police cannot charge him without supporting evidence.”

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