Liaoning High People’s Court Must Overturn Death Sentence Given to Street Vendor Xia Junfeng, Victim of Official ViolenceComments Off on Liaoning High People’s Court Must Overturn Death Sentence Given to Street Vendor Xia Junfeng, Victim of Official Violence
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- June 28, 2010) On June 29, the Liaoning Provincial High People’s Court (Liaoning HPC) will convene an open court session to hear the appeal of Xia Junfeng (夏俊峰), a street vendor in Shenyang City who was sentenced to death for killing two City Administration and Law Enforcement officials (chengguan) as he was being violently beaten by them. Xia maintains that he was acting in self-defense. CHRD believes that Xia’s conviction for intentional homicide is unjust and calls on the Liaoning HPC to overturn this ruling, sparing Xia from execution.
“Violence by City Administration and Law Enforcement officials against street vendors and other impoverished and marginalized citizens in Chinese cities is a serious and well-documented problem,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “To execute Xia Junfeng for defending himself in the face of one such instance of violence at the hands of these officials would be a grave injustice.”
Xia’s conviction stems from an incident on May 16, 2009, when he was accosted by a group of more than ten officials from the Shenhe District Office of the Shenyang City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureau (沈阳市城市管理行政执法局沈河分局) while selling food from a street stall in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. The officials confiscated a gas canister belonging to Xia, and began beating him in the street. They then took him to the Shenhe District Office, without producing any legal documentation to authorize his detention, and three officers continued to beat him. While he was being beaten, Xia produced a knife which he used to prepare food at his stall, and stabbed the officials, killing two and injuring the third.
The Shenyang City Intermediate People’s Court convicted Xia of intentional homicide and sentenced him to death, also ordering him to pay the families of the deceased 650,000 RMB in compensation. CHRD is concerned that this trial was unjust: Xia’s wife Zhang Jing (张晶) has stated that witnesses were prevented from testifying, evidence was not allowed to be presented, and facts relevant to the case were ignored by the court. Furthermore, prominent Beijing human rights lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪), who will represent Xia during his appeal hearing, wrote on his Twitter account that “the judge in the first instance trial advocated giving Xia a suspended death sentence, but ‘higher authorities’ did not agree.”
Teng believes that the Shenyang City Intermediate People’s Court made an “obvious error” in convicting Xia of intentional homicide, adding, “Xia did not commit a homicide; everything he did, he did to avoid being beaten to death.”
CHRD calls on the Liaoning HPC to overturn the conviction for intentional homicide and the death sentence meted out to Xia Junfeng by the Shenyang City Intermediate People’s Court. Xia must be provided with a fair hearing, and his lawyer Teng Biao must be allowed to present a complete defense on behalf of his client.
CHRD demands that the Chinese government investigate the violent conduct of the Shenyang City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureau officials. Any City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureau officials who are found to have acted illegally must be held accountable for their actions.
Furthermore, CHRD continues to urge the Chinese government to draft a timetable regarding the eventual abolition of the death penalty. Until the death penalty is abolished, CHRD calls on the government to put safeguards in place to significantly curtail the number of executions and end abuses associated with the death penalty.
For More Information, Please See:
A statement by Xia’s wife, Zhang Jing (in Chinese): https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100626214741_21906.html
The defense statement prepared by Xia’s lawyer Fan Yulong (范玉龙) for Xia’s first trial (in Chinese): https://www.nchrd.org/article/Class53/201001/20100116105403_19462.html
Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286
David Smalls, Researcher (English), +1 347 448 5285