China – Man Sentenced Not Guilty After 26 Years in Prison

  • Misjudged man pleads for $3.3 million in national compensation.
  • Similar cases happened during the same period due to government policy.
  • The weight of history is just unbearable when it falls on an individual.

In 1993, two kids were found dead in a pool in Jiangxi. They were strangled first and then dumped there. The police soon arrested Zhang Yuhuan, a local farmer whose clothes were found nearby and with scars on both arms. One year later, he received a death sentence with reprieve.

On August 4 this year, after almost 27 years behind bars, Jiangxi Higher People’s Court reviewed the case and discovered that in the original trial, the evidence was not clear. Base on the presumption of innocence, Zhang is sentenced again as not guilty, after 9,778 days in prison, the longest record of its kind in China.

Zhang and Song at young.

After being released, Zhang admitted in interviews that he was forced to confess after six days and nights of torture, including a wolfhound biting off part of his upper thigh. His lawyer announced today that they are applying for a national compensation of almost $3.3 million. However, this number is not likely to be approved. The highest national compensation for similar cases did not even reach $700k.

Besides blaming local authorities for the false accusation, people online have been deeply moved by Zhang’s ex-wife, Song Xiaonv. She has always believed that Zhang is innocent. She tried her best to take care of their kids alone after Zhang was put in jail. In 1999, afraid of not able to overcome her cancer, she got remarried. She made a deal with her new husband: she would keep loving and pleading for the innocence of Zhang, and that he must take care of her kids if the cancer ever took her life. When Zhang finally got free, she was the first to receive him. However, she claims that she would not divorce her current husband. Her husband has been supporting her for decades, now it’s her time to love him back. Also, she doesn’t want any money from the national compensation, all for Zhang. Internet users deem her a heroine that should be remembered forever in history.

Song says Zhang owes her a big hug.

Zhang’s tragedy is very likely due to the “Strike Hard Anti-Crime Campaign” carried out in China during the end of last century. Police departments were under high pressure to solve cases in a short time, which led to many similar cases like Zhang’s.

Huugji from Inner Mongolia was executed only 62 days after being found guilty for the death of a girl in 1996. In 2014, he was exonerated.

She Xianglin was in prison for over 11 years for murdering his wife before being released because his “gone girl” reappeared alive.

Nie Shubin from Hebei was sentenced not guilty 20 years after being executed over a false accusation of rape and murder.

And the list goes on.

It’s not hard to believe that right now there are some other innocent people sentenced during this special period. The weight of history is just unbearable when it falls on an individual.

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