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Bogus evidence, deadlines lead to wrongful convictions: Experts

[ 2009-08-11 15:07]     字号 [] [] []  
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Bogus evidence and the pressure to solve criminal cases quickly to meet tight deadlines are among the main causes of recent wrongful convictions in China, legal experts said.

The conclusion was drawn after experts across China analyzed 137 wrongful criminal convictions at a recent meeting organized by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Guangzhou-based Nandu Daily reported yesterday.

Among the wrongly jailed suspects, the majority were convicted of felonies such as murder, rape, looting and drug-related crimes.

"Some police are forcing the innocent to confess to crimes they did not commit in order to meet strict investigation deadlines set by their superior officers," said Liu Pinxin, a professor at the law school of Renmin University of China. "But it's not an excuse for wrongfully convicting innocent people."

The 158 wrongly convicted in the cases studied were given a total of 720 years imprisonment. On average, each innocent defendant spent four years in prison for a crime he or she didn't commit.

"Whether or not the accused will be deprived of personal freedom all comes down to evidence," Liu said. "In some cases, local police and prosecutors simply don't have the resources to collect credible evidence."

Nevertheless, police and prosecutors are human beings and, as such, can make mistakes, said He Jiahong, a professor from the criminal law research centre of Renmin University of China.

"Our goal is to improve the legal system, especially regulations for evidence collection, in order to prevent wrongful convictions," He said.

In a typical case in 2005, a farmer from Hubei province, She Xianglin, spent 11 years in jail for "killing" his wife before being released in 2005 after his "victim" turned up alive. He got State compensation of about 226,000 yuan.

In the latest case, two men who were wrongly jailed on alleged robbery charges finally found justice when a Central China court corrected its 13-year-old mistake and declared in January that they were innocent.

In their repeated petitions to the courts and media, they claimed to have been beaten and forced into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

Zou and Yuan are expected to get a total of 360,000 yuan in compensation, according to a State compensation agreement with the county court.


1 What are the main causes being offered by experts to explain recent wrongful convictions in China?

2 What were the four main crimes people had been falsely convicted of in the recent study?

3 On average how long did the innocent spend in jail for a crime they didn’t commit?


1. Bogus evidence and the pressure to solve criminal cases quickly to meet tight deadlines are among the main causes of.

2. Murder, rape, looting and drug-related crimes

3. Four years

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Bogus evidence, deadlines lead to wrongful convictions: Experts

Bogus evidence, deadlines lead to wrongful convictions: ExpertsBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op'Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily's Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.