Par­ents strove to live long enough to clear son

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­

Zhang Huanzhi, a be­reaved mother in her 70s, fi­nally got the not guilty ver­dict for her son that she awaited.

Her fight for jus­tice be­gan the very mo­ment her son, Nie Shu­bin, was ar­rested for mur­der in 1994. And the con­fes­sion in 2005 of an­other man, Wang Shu­jin, who claimed he was the ac­tual mur­derer, gave her ad­di­tional power and courage to con­tinue.

In March 2005, Zhang hired a lawyer and be­gan the le­gal process to clear the name of her son. Soon after the ap­peal, the pro­vin­cial Po­lit­i­cal and Le­gal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee in He­bei said it would set up a joint in­ves­tiga­tive group with other ju­di­cial de­part­ments in the prov­ince to look into the case.

How­ever in the decade since, no pos­i­tive de­ci­sions were made in Nie’s case.

It was not un­til De­cem­ber 2014, when the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, the coun­try’s top court, or­dered a re­trial of Nie's case in Shan­dong High Peo­ple’s Court that the fam­ily found hope in their ex­cru­ci­at­ing strug­gle for jus­tice.

Nie’s mother said she was re­lieved when the top court des­ig­nated the court in Shan­dong to re­view her son's case.

She had vis­ited the He­bei High Peo­ple’s Court mul­ti­ple times since 2005 re­quest­ing that her son’s case be re­viewed, but al­ways in vain.

“I’m more than thrilled,” Zhang said in an in­ter­view with Xinhua News Agency in 2014. “The de­ci­sion is a re­flec­tion that the coun­try’s ju­di­cial sys­tem is im­prov­ing.”

“My hus­band and I of­ten say to our­selves we have to strive to live un­til the day my son's name is cleared,” the mother said.

“I have so much re­gret be­cause I did not even get to see my son be­fore he was killed,” Zhang said. “The only thing I could do was to try to prove his in­no­cence to ease my pain.”

Nie’s fa­ther, Nie Xuesh­eng, said on Fri­day that it was the hap­pi­est day in more than 20 years since his son was ex­e­cuted.

The fa­ther at­tempted sui­cide the day after he learned of his son’s ex­e­cu­tion from a staff mem­ber of the prison gro­cery shop on April 28, 1995. He had come to visit his son and give him a shirt.

The sui­cide at­tempt left him

the mother of Nie Shu­bin, who was ex­e­cuted for rape and mur­der, talks on Fri­day to the me­dia out­side the court in Shenyang, Liaon­ing prov­ince, that over­turned his con­vic­tion.

par­a­lyzed in one of his legs, so his wife made most of the trips to the court ask­ing for a re­trial.

The fa­ther told Bei­jing News that he ac­cepted the apol­ogy from the Pro­vin­cial High Peo­ple's Court in He­bei on Fri­day.

“Jus­tice de­layed is still jus­tice,” he said.

Xia Daohu, one of the judges for the case, con­firmed that the com­pen­sa­tion ap­pli­ca­tion process had be­gun. But he did not say how much money a lit­i­gant can re­ceive in such a case.

“The com­pen­sa­tion will be pro­vided in ac­cor­dance with the State Com­pen­sa­tion Law, and the fi­nal amount will con­sider how many days Nie had been wrongfully de­tained, as well as the men­tal dam­age,” Xia said.

Xia also said an ac­count­abil­ity in­ves­ti­ga­tion of po­lice and ju­di­cial of­fi­cers who were in­volved has started, but did not elab­o­rate.

Li Shut­ing, the fam­ily’s lawyer, said: “Rights of lawyers, in­clud­ing read­ing le­gal ma­te­ri­als and shar­ing opin­ions with the court, were well pro­tected. I’m also happy to end my work with such a re­sult.”

Nie, a worker in Shi­ji­azhuang, He­bei prov­ince, was sen­tenced to death and ex­e­cuted in 1995 in the rape and mur­der of a woman the year be­fore. He was 21 when he was ex­e­cuted.

The case first came to the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion in 2005, when Wang Shu­jin was de­tained for rape and mur­der in other cases. Wang con­fessed that he was the ac­tual cul­prit in Nie’s case.

Since then, Nie’s case had been rein­ves­ti­gated. His name is well-known across the coun­try, and any de­vel­op­ment of the rein­ves­ti­ga­tion made head­lines.

His case has been han­dled by He­bei Pro­vin­cial High Peo­ple’s Court and Shan­dong Pro­vin­cial High Peo­ple’s Court. Both courts failed to give a fi­nal ver­dict.

Ding Hui, pres­i­dent of the law school at Liaon­ing Nor­mal Univer­sity

On June 15, the top court des­ig­nated the Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court to retry the case.

Ding Hui, pres­i­dent of the law school at Liaon­ing Nor­mal Univer­sity, said: “I’m a mother as well. I fully un­der­stand Zhang when I saw her cry­ing in the court­room.

“Mean­while, I ap­plaud that jus­tice was up­held by the top court. It is so im­por­tant to ful­fill the rule of law in our coun­try.”

Mo Hongx­ian, a law pro­fes­sor at Wuhan Univer­sity, said the case is a mile­stone in Chi­nese crim­i­nal law re­search, adding that the top court high­lighted the prin­ci­ple of no pun­ish­ment for doubt­ful cases in Nie’s case.

“The case could serve as a guide when judges tackle other sim­i­lar cases,” she said.

Both pro­fes­sors said that Nie’s case also points to an ur­gent need to es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism to avoid wrong­ful con­vic­tions.

“How to en­sure ev­i­dence is col­lected legally and ver­dicts are made with­out in­ter­fer­ence is also highly im­por­tant,” Ding said.


Fu Ying, chair­woman of the For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple's Congress, at­tends the China-US fo­rum on Thursday held by New York Univer­sity and the China-US Ex­change Foun­da­tion at the NYU Law School.

Zhang Huanzhi,

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