Miscarriage of Justice: Chinese Man Released After 10 Years in Prison

Yang Botao (right) being held by his crying father Yang Weihua after the former was finally released from 10 years of imprisonment due to a miscarriage of justice involving a forced confession under torture.
 Father Yang Weihua in tears holding a Yang Botao after leaving the detention facility. Photo: CFP
Father Yang Weihua in tears holding a Yang Botao after leaving the detention facility. Photo: CFP

From NetEase:

Henan Man Spent 10 Years Wrongly Imprisoned in Miscarriage of Justice, Claims To Have Been Force-Fed Feces and Urine to Extort a Confession

37-year-old Yang Botao is very timid/scared. When the village Party Secretary came to the detention facility to pick him up to go home, he asked to see “official identification”, otherwise, “they’ll say I’m breaking out of prison, and what if they shoot me?” At this moment, he has stayed in there for over 10 years.

He was accused in 2001 of a rape and dismemberment case in Shangqiu district [of Henan]. In the 10-some years since, the Shangqiu Municipal Intermediate Court have handed him two death sentences and one life sentence, the three judgements all reversed by the Henan Provincial High Court and returned for retrial. It was only until August of last year that the Shangqiu Municipal Prosecutor’s Office withdrew the prosecution case on the basis of “unclear facts and insufficient evidence”, which was approved by the Shangqiu Municipal Intermediate Court.

However, Yang Botao was still imprisoned for an additional 6 months. It was only until after the Spring Festival holiday this year and after media reporting that the Shangqiu Municipal Police released him “on bail pending investigation”. Only after police and relatives spent 9 hours persuading him did Yang Botao agree to exit the detention center, stepping back into a society he has been separated from for 10 years.

His identity as a university graduate did not bring him any preferential treatment in those ten years, yet continuously pushed him to do everything he could to attempt to keep up with the times. In order to exercise his right brain [hemisphere], he persisted in using his left hand to write; to develop his memory, he would recite every piece of news after watching Xinwen Lianbo based on the order it was broadcasted. He would use his left hand to write down from memory such news items on old pieces of paper, holding together his beautiful imagination of the world.

Losing his freedom, “I remember that year’s GDP figure”

Yang Botao’s cell can hold 16 to 17 people. Over the past 10 years, these people changed many times, up until Yang Botao became the oldest one. “No one has lived in there longer than me.” He chuckled and then continued, “I’ve even bid farewell to over a dozen inmates sentenced to death, and when the bailiff took them to the execution grounds, not a single one wasn’t scared stupid.”

The detention facility is a place that is unimaginable. When Yang Botao first entered, he had nearly 600 degrees of near-sightedness and no glasses. He was slapped around several times and could never see clearly who did it. Without anyone teaching him, he immediately learned how to surrender/yield and beg forgiveness, which allowed his days to go by slightly better. In recent years, the detention center had become much more humanized/humane, which allowed him to begin saving strength for returning to the outside world.

After 10 years of excessive detention, Yang Botao's hair has already started becoming thin and there are already white hairs, while his glasses also have a broken temple.
After 10 years of excessive detention, Yang Botao’s hair has already started becoming thin and there are already white hairs, while his glasses also have a broken temple.

“I believed I could be released,” Yang Botao said, “whether or not the person was killed by me is something I know most clearly.” According to the contents of his file, and just as his defense document says, the “rape, murder, and dismemberment” case Yang Botao was a suspect in is a classic “three unknowns” case: The scene of the crime was unknown [unable to be determined], the time of the crime was unknown, and there was no on-the-scene exhibits [evidence]. According to him, his 5 confessions of guilt were all brought about after he was forced to drink hot pepper water and had his testicles pinched/crushed/abused.

In the past 10 years, Yang Botao often thought of his university, the dormitory building he once lived in, the scenic river to the south, and the basketball court to the north. From 1996 to 1998, Yang Botao majored in Economic Management at Zhengzhou University, which changed his life. He had once thought that if he had not gone to university, he would not have gone to do business in electric appliances, nor would he have opened a trading company in downtown Shangqiu, much less encountered the murder case of junior female schoolmate Li X.

At around 5pm on February 12th, Yang Botao was driven out of the Shangqiu detention facility. Then, on an empty plot of land beside the road, he and his family began setting on fire the bedclothes he had brought out with him. “Must burn, because if you don’t burn them, it means you still want to go back inside to sleep.”

“Must burn, because if you don’t burn them, it means you still want to go back inside to sleep.”

After burning his bedclothes and an old sweater, he began taking measure of this city that had just celebrated Spring Festival, and discovered that he no longer recognized it. “Huge changes.” He was informed that his trading company had closed down, that his Changan Star small van had been stolen, and that his fiancee could no longer be reached. He very quickly left Shangqiu, never wanting to ever return.

Yang Botao lost his freedom on 2003 December 17. “The year I went in, China’s GDP had just surpassed 10 trillion (yuan), so could the change not be big [since then]?” Yang Botao said ruefully, in a hotel room in Xiayi county [of Shangqiu city, Henan] on the afternoon of December 19.

He has constantly pushed himself to not be left behind by the times. After he got used to life in the detention center, he used forcefully memorizing every item of news on Xinwen Lianbo to exercise his memory. “Do you know how many items of news there are on Xinwen Lianbo every week?” He laughed, “Normally 20-30 items. I can recite each item based on the order [originally presented].”

About 5 years ago, he saw on an old magazine that using your left hand to write can develop the right side of one’s brain, so he immediately began practicing. Now, his left hand writing is barely different from his right hand writing. “If a person has no money or background [connections], the only thing he can rely on is his brain.”

Petitioning grievance, claims being forcefully fed feces and urine to extort confessions

Other than the great changes to streets and alleys [surroundings], Yang Botao also has to come to terms with the aging of his loved ones, as well as the changes in their personalities. When burning his bedclothes after just leaving the detention center, his father Yang Weihua insisted on snatching away another bag in his son’s hands to burn. When Yang Botao refused, his father immediately became angry. In that bag was stuffed several articles of clothing that were not yet that old, as well as a dense amount of paper and notebooks that Yang Botao had written on over the years.

The paper Yang Botao used to practice his memory and handwriting during his period of detention. Photo by Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Sun Xuyang.
The paper Yang Botao used to practice his memory and handwriting during his period of detention. Photo by Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Sun Xuyang.

Also easy to anger like their father is elder sister Yang Chunxia. Over the past ten years, she has constantly petitioned [authorities] on behalf of her brother, and has been constantly thwarted, her worries and depression entangled with each other fermenting in her heart, her mood constantly on the verge of collapse. Yang Chunxia’s husband Ma Jiangbo says his wife often suddenly leaves behind her two children at home to go to Beijing to petition, unable to stay even a moment, and has been sent back [often forcefully] before.

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The lives of Ma Jiangbo and his wife have been kidnapped by [entangled with] the petitioning. A single 80-page A4 paper-sized bound petition has had 300 copies printed out at once by Ma Jiangbo. He has started businesses several times as well as hired several workers, all of which have been hindered by petitioning and thus failed. What Ma Jiangbo cannot accept is not being heavily in debt but how miserable it has been for his two children. Whenever their parents go off to petition, they are left in the care of their friends in Zhengzhou. Finally when their mother returns home, her mood is extremely bad, leading her to sometimes yell and hit them.

Yang Botao’s return has brought a momentary ray of sunshine to the entire family. Yang Weihua has worked as a teacher his entire life and was quite respected throughout his hometown Xiayi county Sangu town, but because of of his son becoming a criminal who had raped, murdered, and disemembered someone, he had for a time been unable to face anyone. “Had Yang Botao really committed murdered, they could execute him and we would not be the least bit sad,” Ma Jiangbo said,” Our lawyer met with him and came out saying it was 100% a case of having falsely confessed under torture. Our entire family immediately decided that even if it cost our lives, we would cry out about the injustice.

But, Yang Botao knew that his father could not shield him for too long. The 64-year-old Yang Weihua has already been definitively diagnosed with late-stage cancer, and what more, because of a blood transfusion due to injuries from a car accident over a dozen years ago, he had contracted an embarrassing-to-reveal incurable disease [possibly HIV]. Relying on a retirement pension of just little more than 1600 yuan a month, just how much longer could he bear?

This increased Yang Botao’s hate for those who interrogated him under torture to force a confession. “Even burning them to death would not be enough to satisfy my anger.” In the Yang Botao’s petitioning materials, he describes the particulars of the interrogation under torture by then Shangqiu city Liangyuan district Public Security Sub-bureau Chief Liu Yuzhou and others: He was not allowed to sleep for over a dozen days and nights, was beaten and kicked, force-fed feces and urine, had his facial, armpit, and pubic hair all plucked out…

He was not allowed to sleep for over a dozen days and nights, was beaten and kicked, force-fed feces and urine, had his facial, armpit, and pubic hair all plucked out…

7 years after Yang Botao was locked away in the detention facility, Liu Yuzhou was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the crimes of accepting bribes and possessing large sums of assets of unclear origin. A Shangqiu Municipal Party Committee Politics and Law Committee member says Liu Yuzhou had previously confessed during investigation to extracting a confession with torture from Yang Botao, but does not know why it was not in the file.

This also makes Yang Botao’s description of his forced confession lack legal recognition. Yang Botao was imprisoned at the end of 2004 May in the Shangqiu city Tianyu Hotel and interrogated. Yang Botao remembers that a female employee of the hotel took pity on him after seeing him naked being interrogated under torture and purchased two underwear briefs for him. “I want to thank her, as well as ask her to testify.” However, after ten years, among the sea of people, where was he to go find her?

Someone he wants to find even more is undoubtedly his fiancee. Over the past 10 years, he was constantly told that his fiance was waiting for him. However, on February 12, in the group of people crying [at his release], he did not see her figure. It was not until lunch on February 19 that he again pressed his older sister for the whereabouts of his fiance.

This time, Yang Chunxia no longer hid the truth from him and told her younger brother that his fiance has already gotten married and had a child. In that instant, Yang Botao’s voice became husky, as if his throat was choking, “How is she doing? Can I see her?”

Yang Chunxia became furious, glared at her younger brother, and lashed out, “She has a family now, don’t you go bothering her!” Other than Yang Chunxia, other family members also opposed Yang Botao’s idea [of seeing her]. This is a family that extremely treasures reputation.

Awaiting his name being cleared, his questions go unanswered

In the 10 days since leaving the detention center, “accompanied” by the village Party Secretary and two police officers, Yang Botao is living in a small hotel in Xiayi county town, his food and living expenses all provided by the “state”. February 19 afternoon, upon learning that a reporter had come by, a deputy chief of the Xiayi county public security bureau rushed over to this hotel, explaining that all of this was ordered from above.

Yang Botao and his family know that the other party are afraid of the Yang family going to Zhengzhou and Beijing to petition. In order to avoid problems, they’ve chosen to cooperate. Piled in the ashtray at the head of Yang Botao’s bed are the cigarette butts left behind every day by him and his “companions/escort”, the air [in the room] unbearably dirty.

Yang Botao very quickly discovered that “the higher authorities want to sweep this under the carpet”, and up till now has not heard anything about what will be arranged for him next.

In reports by the media, he apparently is already innocent. However, in terms of legal procedure, he remains someone who is awaiting sentencing/punishment. Shangqiu city police have only applied for “release on bail pending investigation” for him and has not actually formally released him. This is also on reason why he had refused to leave the detention facility. This case has in 10 years experienced 4 supplementary investigations and 3 retrials. “If they can’t convict me, why not return me my innocence?”

“If they can’t convict me, why not return me my innocence?”

The “Release on Bail Pending Investigation” document Yang Botao received from the Shangqiu Public Security Bureau Forward Division states “This bureau is currently investigating the (this space left blank) case. Criminal suspect Yang Botao may not check out during his legal detention period. [This bureau] needs to continue investigating and hearing, and has decided to release him on bail pending this investigation, with the detention period beginning from 2014 February 11th onward.”

“Are you telling me the past 10 years have just been a legal detention period?” Yang Botao questioned, but no one answered him. According to an individual with the Shangqiu police, in conjunction with Yang Botao’s release on bail pending investigation, the Shangqiu city formed a special investigative team to reinvestigate the rape and murder case he is involved in and provide daily reports.

However, in the eyes of one Henan attorney, whether Yang Botao is the culprit and just who the culprit really is and whether he can be apprehended are two different matters, and that Shangqiu police are clearly evading the core problem. In a situation where someone has been imprisoned for 10 years without conviction and the investigating organ [prosecutor’s office] has withdrawn its prosecution, the Public Security Bureau only releasing him on bail pending investigation is an abuse of police power. What more, release on bail is not allowed for serious violent crime cases like the rape and murder case he is involved in anyway. “This is also the reason why the Public Security Bureau doesn’t dare write the details of the case on the ‘Release on Bail Pending Investigation’ document.”

On the third day after leaving the detention center, Yang Botao arrived at the Xiayi county People’s Hospital to do a physical exam. February 20th, he received the exam results. He has been found to have proctitis and hepatitis C. Over the years, the reason for his excrement always accompanied by pus and blood has now been determined. There are also problems with his prostate, where he often has the urge to urinate but is unable to do so. What his family is worried about is that he may have already lost his ability to reproduce after his lower body [testicles] were abused during his interrogation under torture.

After receiving his exam results, he immediately applied for 30,000 yuan in aid from the Shangqiu Public Security Bureau, in hopes of being hospitalized for treatment. But, as of the night of February 25th, has yet to receive a reply.

Comments from NetEase:

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亚之梦的眼泪 [网易北京市手机网友]:

Is there any TM law at all?

1碧云天1 [网易山东省淄博市手机网友]:

4 years in college, 10 years of unjust imprisonment, and he still watches Xinwen Lianbo. Just how stupid is he?

A我来自火星 [网易浙江省温州市网友]:

Those in support of the local Public Security Bureau chief being sacked, please ding this up.

网易陕西省西安市手机网友 ip:36.40.*.*:

In Yang Botao’s mind, just what kind of impression has the local Public Security Bureau [police] given him?

风浩荡 [网易陕西省西安市手机网友]:

Reincarnation is also something that requires skill.

[Note: This is a joke that means the situation one is born into such as family, environment, genes, time period, etc. requires “skill”. For example, being born into an unfavorable situation (such as in China) means one had poor “skill” and being born into a favorable situation (such as in USA) means one had good skill.]

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Zappa Frank

    I hope people that scream in anger “kill, kill, kill”, “more death sentences” will read this article..

    • vonskippy

      Unfortunately it’s never that simple. Yes, it’s terrible when an innocent is wrongly punished, but it’s even more terrible when a guilty person walks free. So the question is which way to tilt, is it better that a few innocents suffer so that all the guilty are punished, or better to let evil roam free so that no innocents are wrongly punished? Hindsight is oh so wonderful, but unfortunately that doesn’t occur many years after the trial – if he was guilty and released at trial to rape/murder someone else would you still have the same question?

      • Probotector

        This happens a lot the world over. What needs to be done, particularly in the case of rape, and certainly in this case, is for legal authorities to enact better investigatory and crime detection measures that weigh evidence as opposed to mere accusation.

      • Zappa Frank

        I think that is by far more terrible when an innocent person is punished, especially if the punishment is a life sentence or the death, than a when a guilty person walks free… but even with that we have no assurance that if some innocents are punished than all guilty are captured.
        However what I wanted to say is, if you condemn to death sentence there is no return, in this case after 10 years he was proved innocent, with a death sentence this would be of little consolation…

      • donscarletti

        The concept of whether false positives or false negatives in criminal justice are more harmful to society is most famously addressed by Blackstone’s Formulation, named after the British judge William Blackstone who wrote:

        “All presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously; for
        the law holds it better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one
        innocent party suffer”.

        The cited ratio varies from person to person, Benjamin Franklin said “it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer”. But certain people like Otto von Bismark and Pol Pot have cited it the other way, that it is better for more innocents to suffer than to let the guilty escape.

        I think what it comes down to is that criminals do not have the same abilities as the state in crushing someone’s testicles, feeding them shit then keeping them confined for 10 years. As such, I think a few more criminals on the loose would be a small price to pay for less abuses like this.

        • vonskippy

          I think that sounds good on paper. But lets imagine that in this case, Yang Botao and Nine other truly guilty criminals were released. The Nine released criminals then went on to murder nine other people before being caught yet again. Do you think the nine people who were murdered (and their families) would agree that it’s better to err on the side of releasing criminals? In other words, instead of one innocent person suffering wrongly in jail (or even executed), nine innocent people were killed because the government was afraid of making a mistake.

          • Zappa Frank

            let’s imagine your consideration…a country where you can be sentenced to death regardless any clear evidence that you are guilty… no one can ever feel safe because once accused is always difficult to prove to be innocent.. this starts also a trivial circuit where people accuse others without evidences.. wait sounds like a north korea.. the ideal state..
            besides, if 1 innocent is sentenced the guilty one of that crime is still free.. in any case there is no evidence that the ratio innocent wrongly sentenced/guilty arrested would end in “few innocents for all the guilty”

          • Germandude

            I agree with you.
            Innocent until proven guilty. Any other way leaves too much room of the innocent being considered guilty and the system being exploited by opportunists like evil governments trying to punish those who speak the truth.

          • mr.wiener

            Some people say China is too large and has too many people to rule gently….This has to change if China’s rise is going to become a long term thing. otherwise is is just like the line out of 1984. The future of the world is a boot being rubbed into a human face.

          • Germandude

            Yeah, I know that excuse, “China is too large…”. The problem is not the size of a country or population, but the organization behind it. In fact, if law would be enforced and controlled properly, size doesn’t matter.
            However, at this stage, China is lacking the infrastructure, laws and will to organize itself properly.
            Times will change though.

          • hailexiao

            Whenever people say that China/Russia/Country X is too large to govern with a gentle hand, I always reply that if a country is too large to govern gently, it is probably too large to exist as a single entity.

          • donscarletti

            You have no way of assuming that those nine murderers will murder again, so the 9 new victims are purely hypothetical.

            However, if we were to assume that murderers must murder again and again until they are caught, then locking up an innocent man and closing the case means there will be another victim from the real killer. This does not give a 10-1 ratio, but it still gives a 2-1 ratio (one victim killed by the state, one by the escaped killer).

          • hailexiao

            Well your imagined scenario sounds good on paper. However arresting, torturing and imprisoning a suspect with the flimsiest of actual evidence is detrimental to actually catching the real criminals, since once that suspect is convicted the search for perpetrators stops, letting the real criminal run free. If you truly want to err on the side of imprisoning everyone, you’d have to keep every case open and imprison multiple people for every crime because each of them has nonzero chance of being the real criminal, and not even the most draconian of governments do that.

            In any case, I’d be far angrier if a family member were killed/mistreated by the state than by criminals, because I hold the state to a much, much higher standard of conduct.

        • Tranxenne

          It started way earlier than Blackstone:

          “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? … What if ten are found there?” The Lord said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.” (Genesis 18:23-32)


          “the innocent and righteous slay thou not” (Exodus 23:7)

          • nickhz

            let’s leave the bible out of this, shall we?

          • Torgrim

            Why? The Bible is a historical text, written by real people. There is absolutely no reason to leave it out of any relevant conversation. Refusal to recognize it’s legitimacy as historic literature and it’s influence on civilization suggests a dogmatic, naive view. Just because you don’t personally like some aspect(s) of the Bible doesn’t mean you can dismiss it without appearing a fool.

          • Germandude

            Or vice versa:

            Just because you personally like some aspect(s) of the Bible doesn’t mean you can use it without appearing a fool.

          • Kai

            @disqus_EQ6XCCt77G:disqus @nickhz:disqus

            Seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. It’s not like Tranxenne was obnoxiously proselytizing, just merely demonstrating that the notion espoused by Blackstone had historical precedent which I think is interesting context. Frankly, very few people have truly original ideas, and so much of Western society’s modern mores and ethics are evolving derivatives of Judeo-Christian ideology. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

          • Germandude

            My comment was more a provocative one to @disqus_EQ6XCCt77G:disqus. I am not actually disagreeing with what she is saying about the Bible, but that the Bible (as well as the Koran) are books that besides holding loads of truth and guidance to people, are also holding the seeds for evil.

          • mr.wiener

            The bible is a good book, but I wouldn’t take it as gospel ;)

          • Kai

            Pun(s) aside, I wouldn’t even say it’s a good book. An entire “chapter” of numbers? It has its moments, but a lot of it is pretty dry reading! ;)

          • mr.wiener

            You must have missed the story of the Levite and his concubine [Judges 19] That shit is bent. My biblical studies teacher used to used to threaten me with caning for asking curly questions about that.

          • Torgrim

            You’ve exposed your hand in the latter comment. I know that you know that argument doesn’t work. At least that’s what she said.

          • Tova Rischi

            Methinks the most proper reason to leave it alone is because it typically starts shitfests between our parties (sorry).

            Another thing when approaching hostile parties is phrasing, too. A more cold reference, like “here’s this example from ancient Jewish law of the same thing … and also I’m sure there’s more examples from other cultures…” might not have gotten their shitfest motors revving.

          • Torgrim

            That sounds like political correctness, “Leave anything out that might hit someone’s boohoo button”.

            You’re partly right, I’d think we could discuss social references in religious books without a discussion on religion itself. Doesn’t seem to be the case.

          • Tova Rischi

            Bash it all you want but PC does have utilitarian uses. Since people are not entirely rational avoiding pushing that button can be used to manipulate things and avoid conflict when it can be avoided.

            I mean yes it’s important to have that discussion but there’s a time and a place, you know? I seriously doubt people are really going to be properly disturbed by shitfests in a Chinasmack comment war.

          • Dr Sun

            utilitarianism is great, as long as you believe those that agree with your concept of the common good deserve to survive, those that don’t are a broken machine and its time to scrap (terminate ) them.

          • anon101

            historical text??? that was written and rewritten throughout the ages. I strongly believe people who are religious are naive. we have hundreds of religions and most of which have a reincarnation in them as well as a virgin birth. most religions today have only been around 2k years, but there are many older ones that have been around much longer.

            just have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljRKhZ81aqY
            (very quick search found it and it seems to show where Christianity came from)

          • Torgrim

            So you are saying that something which is:

            1. Written and rewritten “throughout the ages”

            2. Two thousand years old, some older

            is not historic? I’m confused.

            Actually, I’m not, it’s just that you, as many people, seem unable to differentiate between the “religious/faith” aspects of religious books (edited or not) and the very real effects the books have on society. Do you have such a big problem with religion that you can’t objectively view it within a cultural context or at least see past it?

            The original post by Tranxenne had nothing to do with religion, he/she was referencing those passages from a historic point of view, pointing out that the ideas existed earlier than the previous example. You guys with the “ohhhh I can’t stand religion it’s so silly here’s a youtube link that supports my position!!” attitudes had to insist on bringing in the religious aspects.

        • Nick in Beijing

          Excellently said, Donscarletti.

    • RickyBeijing

      Very refreshing to see interesting, thought-provoking banter on this forum.

  • Nick in Beijing

    At least he was released. How many cases of false imprisonment due to forced confessions go unnoticed and unresolved in China?

    Count your blessings and make the most of your restored freedom.

    • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

      Yeah, his father will die, his health is in a bad state and he probably won’t get money to help with that. His freedom is better than what he had before but since there is no support system or justice here, he is screwed.

      • nickhz

        im curious if he will get govenment aid… he should never have to work another day in his life…. after torture and 10 years in hell… it’s not like the government cant afford it… they took his life away from him… they should give him back a life worth living…

        • Kai

          There is government restitution/compensation for these things and procedures he can go through to get them but the worry here is whether or not he’ll actually get it. There are cases where things have been made right (to varying degress) but also cases where someone was just forever screwed. There’s too much uncertainty about whether or not justice will be carried out in so many areas, instances, and situations in China.

          • David

            I wonder if this is one of the reasons they are insisting he was not convicted? They are saying it was basically a ten year investigation that is still going on. Without a conviction maybe no compensation?

          • Kai

            I actually didn’t think of it from that angle and don’t know enough details about the legal specifics of the case to really hazard a guess. I thought they were just unwilling to formally absolve him of charges, that the police are still holding him for investigation even though the prosecutorate has dropped the charges.

  • Nick in Beijing

    Definitely not a fan of all the flowery reporting.

    “his voice grew husky, as if choking…” come on! How does this kind of thing contribute to unbiased fact based reporting?

    • Kai

      This was less of straightforward “just the facts” news article and more like a long-form feature piece. It’s a human interest story, so flowery words and dramatic narratives are expected. This is true everywhere. It’s like the NYT’s Snow Fall piece, except without the cool multimedia.

  • Cameron

    Can you machine the shitstorm a story like this would bring in a western country if the police were found to have done this to a suspect?

    Here it’s like, “oh well, guy must have had some bad karma”.

    Perhaps the difference in response is because most Chinese people couldn’t give two shits about injustice unless it affects them directly. Is that too harsh? I know this you have to watch your behavior somewhat in a dictatorship, but shouldn’t there be some kind of strength in numbers?

    • Glass Heart

      it has… you just have to look it up. innocent people being accused only to be released many years later after forensic finding more evidence to prove the innocence.

      • Cameron

        I guess the problem is discussing stuff and leaving a few comments online doesn’t really change things. People getting angry – in public – and demanding accountability from officials changes things.

        There are thousands of demonstrations in China annually instigated by people being abused by the system. But people only ever demonstrate against THEIR misfortune (be it a chemical plant in THIER city, worker abuse at THEIR factory, the demolition of THEIR property). There is never solidarity with a common cause.

        Is it because people don’t dare or because they don’t care?

        • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

          A little bit from A and a little bit from B and maybe there is a C in there somewhere too.

    • Probotector

      The answer to that question lies in your previous satement “most Chinese people couldn’t give two shits about injustice unless it affects them directly”.

    • Kai

      I’d say most people in the world couldn’t give two shits about injustice unless it affects them directly, as proven by countless historical and contemporary evidence right before our eyes on a daily basis. But I get your point, which is that you feel Chinese people are worse in this regard than others, or more specifically, to the societies you identifiy more closely with.

      Personally, I think any intrinsic reluctance to care or get involved in broader injustices is something that is shaped by the environment one grows up in in addition to the proximity of that injustice to one’s own interests.

      It’s hard to give a shit about some guy in Henan if you’re a cubicle rat lamenting at the impossibility of saving up for a house to get married while your parents are pressuring you to find someone and spawn descendents.

      Or if you’re wondering if you can get more overtime so you can send just a bit more money back home to the countryside so your little brother can keep going to school and have that much more access to a better future.

      Or if you’re a comfortably middle-class urban animal lover and what matters more to you or what feels more like something you can actually do something about is rounding up fellow animal activists to go intercept a passing truck you suspect of holding caged cats and dogs for slaughter.

      Or maybe you’re a university student and you saw something horrible on the internet so you decide to dress up as a bear and use performance art on the streets to protest the inhumane extraction of bear bile by some large TCM company.

      Or you’re a netizen and you’re sick of the endless stream of news featuring fatass government officials wanking themselves off so you decide what you can do is identify the expensive cigarrettes and watches they’re flossin’ in all those publicity photos of them apparently working and point them out to your fellow netizens, only vaguely expecting that some groundswell of internet discontent will prompt the central government administration to possibly crack down on rampant corruption by government officials, bringing down cigarette companies, halving the retail price of certain liquors, shuttering ritzy restaurants.

      This behavior is more or less similar to what I generally see in other, more advanced countries. True, there is no Occupy Wall Street, nor Ukrainian revolution. True, it’s not like 1989, or 1911, or even the Cultural Revolution, or even the LA Riots. True, there are some differences, some meaningful to articulate, but it feels about right for the socioeconomic situation of China. The general behavior of most Chinese people seems pretty human to me.

  • Gerhana

    if I am not mistaken the state or the country need to provide compensation for miscarriage of justice so he can start his life again. I believe its monetary compensation. This guys is probably a scapegoat, it appeared that they are trying too hard to get a confession out of him. You only do that if you dont have enough evidence.

    • North-eastern

      I guess he could do that. Sue the state or system. But that’s highly doubtful to me.

  • “and had his testicles pinched/crushed/abused.”


    • hailexiao

      IMO everyone involved in his interrogation should be required to ‘donate’ their testicles to him.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Torture always works to get a confession to a crime. Even if the accused isn’t guilty at all…

  • North-eastern

    Guilty until proven innocent.

    • Probotector

      When it comes to rape, it seems most (men anyway) are guilty by accusation without evidence, and not only in China.

      • Zappa Frank

        the problem is that in many cases a rape don’t leave many evidences.

  • North-eastern

    Like I said above. “Guilty until proven innocent”.

  • Kai

    Interesting, the ad that shows up for me at the top right is for cars.com, advertising a Lamborghini Aventador for $600k and a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti for $55k (!). Contextual advertising or personal browsing history? You decide.

    • Germandude
      • Kai

        I close and skip ads all the time but won’t use adblock to categorically shut out advertising. I know intimately it isn’t easy for websites to devote countless hours to providing free content to readers so I’m not going to begrudge them the fraction of a cent they might earn from my impression. Google AdSense banner ads are pretty harmless to me.

        • Germandude

          It’s not about begrudging them for any kind of money they could make on ads.
          It’s more a problem that some sites have such annoying ads that you can hardly close, because the X is hidden or overlayed by the ad itself. It’s quite an annoyance.

          • Kai

            Hah, the worst are some of those on Chinese sites (though not only Chinese sites) where even the X is a link to the advertiser. Bait and switch! That said, I generally don’t visit sites with such annoying ads.

            Most of cS’s ads are from Google AdSense which does a pretty good job of policing the intrusiveness of the ads advertisers use on their network. Our ad server also screens for malware automatically. If we see an ad with sound from one of our ad networks, we try to remove it from the mix. We try really damn hard to find a reasonable balance between monetizing enough to keep the site going and not alienating visitors. It’s a changing industry so always new challenges.

            The most potentially annoying ad on cS is the single video ad that slides up (only) on the homepage, and only because its an autoplaying video ad with sound. It brings in a lot of revenue cS desperately needs so its a tough compromise. The day it stops featuring ads from reputable major name brands is probably the day we’d nix it because then the balance of cost/benefit changes to negative.

            If what I’ve described here isn’t your experience with ads on cS, feel free to contact us and tell us about any issues you think are way unreasonable. Ads are influenced by a number of things, including what country you’re viewing the site from, so the type of ads and advertisers we see may be different from what you see.

    • Paul Schoe

      I didn’t see the add, you clearly are considered to be in a higher income class then me ;-)

    • FYIADragoon

      Kai if you need help managing your 7 figure paycheck feel free to knock at my door ;)

      I thought everyone used Ad Block?

      • markus peg

        I didn’t even know China smack had ads! lol
        I use Ad block on firefox, though i still sometimes get ads on Chinese sites with anime/real girls boobs going big then small again. or random fake game ads that pop up on Chinese forums.

  • Kai

    LoL, there’s not enough explanation for why his sister was so angry about him wanting to see his ex-fiance. I presume the father was upset about him not wanting to burn everything from prison as sort of a symbolic clean break from that history. But yeah, it was weird that they’re presented as so easy to get riled up. I feel for the sister though, and her husband too. 10 years of petitioning and having this injustice hang over them permeating their lives everyday. That must wear you down. Weaker people would’ve given up and moved on long ago.

  • Zappa Frank

    semen is left also in consensual sex…like in the cases you said.
    can happen that emotions, shame, and so on let her to sue only after sometime (in many case never), like you said, and so what do we do? don’t believe her bacause is too late? Some girls don’t sue because are afraid to not be believed, unlucky in the end, many times, is just a word against another word..she said he said..

  • diverdude7

    looks guilty to me. usually where there is smoke there is fire. looks like a perv…

    • Foreign Devil

      You’d fit right in with Chinese law enforcement.

      • David

        Yea, promote that guy in the police department and give him a new pair of pliers for nut crackers.

    • Jim Gordon


  • Mighty曹

    Poor man. Chinese (in)justice system’s compensation for the wrongly incarcerated is not nearly enough to overcome the anguish for the 10 years. Hope it didn’t also change his sexual orientation.

  • Eileithyia

    semen is good enough evidence for rape case. You can just prove they had sex.

  • commander

    I think this story can be produced into an award-winning movie.

    The title is: 10 Years A Prisoner.

    If you are worried about the prospect of getting nominated and honored, you are relieved to see that the sensational hit 12 Years A Slave got nominated for awards in various movie festivals and won awards.

  • socali

    I suppose he can’t ask for compensation from the Chicom government?

  • anon101

    very sad. poor guy.