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China Change, January 16, 2019 On January 14, a court in Dalian, northeastern China, sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death for drug smuggling at a one-day retrial. It appears that China, after detaining two Canadians recently, is escalating the diplomatic clash with Canada over the arrest  of Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), Huawei CFO, which the US requested pursuant to its extradition treaty with Canada, to the United States for suspected violation of Iran sanctions. The bizarre re-sentencing of Schellenberg seems to indicate how far China is willing to go to pressure Canada for the release of Meng, and how it is betting on Canada to give in by using the Schellenberg case as further leverage. To help clarify the legal controversy surrounding the retrial of […]


November 14, 2016 About one and a half hours ago, Chinese state media announced that Jia Jinglong had been executed this morning – they killed him faster than we had time enough to translate this appeal, which should still be read and contemplated. – The Editors     Respected president of the Supreme People’s Court Zhou Qiang (周强): As law professors and attorneys long concerned with the development of the rule of law in China, we believe that the Supreme People’s Court’s review ruling in the Jia Jinglong (贾敬龙) case does not conform to the applicable standards and policies for the death penalty as determined by Chinese law, and that the review procedure did not fully safeguard the right to appeal of the defendant and […]


Tang Yinghong, October 23, 2016 On August 31, the Supreme People’s Court of China approved the death sentence of a young man named Jia Jinglong (贾敬龙). The decision wasn’t conveyed to Jia’s lawyers until October 18. Since then, legal scholars, lawyers, journalists, writers, and netizens from all walks of life have spoken out on Chinese social media about the injustice in sentencing Jia Jinglong to death. Readers can seek out the lawyers’ written defense and discussions about the legality of the forced demolition of Jia’s home and the larger issue of social justice, but here is the story of Jia Jinglong. – The Editors     Jia Jinglong is a young man from the North Gaoying Village, Chang’an District, Shijiazhuang (石家庄市长安区北高营村), a capital city of […]


By Teng Biao, published: January 16, 2014     Throughout history, the death penalty has always been associated with famous people: from Socrates, Jesus, and Giordano Bruno to Joan of Arc, Madame Roland, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer; from Bi Gan (比干), Yue Fei (岳飞) to Yuan Chonghuan (袁崇焕), Tan Sitong (谭嗣同), Yu Luoke (遇罗克), Lin Zhao (林昭); from Li Si (李斯), Shang Yang (商鞅), Charles I, Louis XVI, Maximilien de Robespierre to Hermann Göring, Adolf Eichmann, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and Saddam Hussein. In all of these cases, the death penalty had more to do with politics than with law–much more so. But this article focuses on the politics of the death penalty in contemporary China. “The Rule of Psychosis” With the Hunan tycoon Zeng Chengjie (曾成杰) and […]


One month after the street vendor was executed. By Ji Ye, published: October 24, 2013   On September 25, 2013, Xia Junfeng was executed. I was saddened and felt low for days. I have been paying attention to this name for more than two years, but what I care about is not the legal aspect of it. To us onlookers, we have no access to the core evidence, the so-called “evidence” we have heard is fragmented, unverifiable, and even contradictory, and we are mostly laymen of the law. Therefore it is absurd for a bunch of half illiterates of law to be heatedly discussing Xia’s guilt or innocence, whether or not his crime warrants the death penalty, to the point of quarrelling and cursing each other. My sadness is […]


By Teng Biao Xia Junfeng (夏俊峰) was a street vendor from Tieling county, Liaoning province (辽宁铁岭县). On May 16, 2009, while selling chicken strips, roasted sausages and other snacks with his wife Zhang Jing near a crossroads in Chenhe District, in the city of Shenyang (沈阳沉河区), Xia Junfeng was seized by urban enforcers known as Chengguan (城管) and taken to their office where he was beaten. During the course of the beating, Xia Junfeng fought back with a small knife he carried in his pocket, stabbing two Chengguans to death and injuring one. He was convicted of intentional homicide and sentenced to death during the first trial, and the second trial, held in July, 2010, upheld the verdict of the first trial. The case has […]


People’s daily and other state news sources have been pointing to the influence of Weibo as a sign of China’s shift toward democracy (here and here), but is social media really creating a more just China? Note: Weibo is a Chinese networking site, something like a combination of Twitter, Facebook and a blog. It is also carefully monitored by gov’t censors (a.k.a. internet police) for stories on sensitive topics, and imposes keyword bans. One way that Weibo is contributing to the development of democracy in China, is that it has helped introduce the idea that the gov’t should actually listen to its people. Weibo has accomplished this largely because it has given common people a way of airing grievances in a public forum. In the past […]


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