- Murderer avoided prison time for 15 years.
- Local officials may be involved in helping the murderer.
- A similar case happened just months ago.
In another article I talked about Zhang Yuhuan, who served 26 years before being sentenced not guilty. The protagonist of today has enjoyed the opposite fate.
In 1993, Batu Menghe was sentenced to 15 years for murdering his friend Bai Yongchun the year before. Bai’s mother, Han Jie, was expecting a severer sentence. But Batu was only 17 years old by then and turned himself in after the crime, so he didn’t receive the death penalty. However, to Han’s surprise, Batu didn’t even fulfill this lighter punishment.
Right before going to jail, Batu’s parents managed to get him a “compassionate release,” or medical release, explaining that he was urinating blood and needed to go to the hospital. He didn’t return to the prison until 15 years later to receive the certificate of having served his sentence. From 2008 to 2017, Batu even got elected as the village mayor and local representative of the National People’s Congress. It is almost impossible for an ex-con to become an official in China, because his personal record will be checked before being elected. Somehow, Batu’s criminal history got erased in the record system.
In 2017, Batu was charged for stealing over $35,000 from government funds. The local court finally noticed that he didn’t actually serve his time before. Combing both cases, Batu was again sentenced to 15 years and a fine of $30,000. This time, according to local media, he is really in jail.
On Weibo, people are curious about why this case didn’t get reported until now, more than two years after Batu was sentenced again. They suggest that Batu’s family must have connections in the government since for a compassionate release, several signatures from higher ranked officials are required. Journalists have tried to call the court, the police department and some other local government departments for further information on the case but have not gotten any response.
Hanjie, who is now 74 years old, has been waiting for this day for almost 30 years. She divorced with her husband 18 years ago because she blamed him for not seeking justice for their son. Her eldest son also passed away 10 years ago. She supported her grandson alone through high school and college.
Nothing happens only once in history. Sun Xiaoguo, stepson of an official at a local military base, received the death penalty in 1998 for accusations of multiple rapes and aggression. His parents then used connections to change the sentence to only 12 years in prison. Sun became owner of several bars later and committed more crimes. After being exposed online, he was executed in 2020 and 19 officials that helped him were all punished. “Local protective umbrella,” a Chinese phrase to describe those officials who help local criminals escape the law, is still a common problem that needs to be solved in China.