Sorry – for 27 years in jail

A Chinese court has apologised to Yuhuan Zhang for his wrongful conviction, after he spent 27 years in jail. The news comes just days after our two-part series on US and Australian prosecutors and judges making similar apologies. We like to report on these as encouragement to other officers of the courts to do the Honourable thing and acknowledge their mistakes (or worse, their malpractices).

“After a reunion with his family, Mr Zhang ate glutinous rice balls and braised eggs as part of his first home-cooked meal in nearly three decades,” according to the news agency’s report. Unsurprisingly, it’s a French agency, AFP, which might explain its interest in the culinary aspect of the story …

Zhang out of jail

AFP’s report goes on: Zhang, 52, was jailed for the murder of two boys in 1993 but always maintained he was tortured by police and forced to confess. Observers have regularly raised concerns about due process in China, where courts have a conviction rate of 99 per cent.

“After we reviewed the materials we found there is no direct evidence that can prove Zhang’s conviction,” the Jiangxi High People’s Court said.

“So we … have declared Zhang innocent.”

But this comes after several unsuccessful appeals; the Jiangxi court in March last year finally agreed to retry the case. It then concluded it was not possible to prove that sacks and hemp rope found at the murder scene and identified as tools in the crime were connected to Mr Zhang.

He was originally given a death sentence in 1995 but it was commuted to life imprisonment after he served two years in jail. Mr Zhang was China’s longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

His lawyer Wang Fei told state-run China Daily that his client would seek compensation.

* See our previous stories, The Honourable List – a start and The Honourable List – in Australia

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3 Responses to Sorry – for 27 years in jail

  1. owen allen says:

    I experienced it not once; but twice in 14 years.
    Both times police and political people were involved, along with private enterprise.
    From career commercial pilot to homeless unemployed with a comment by senior police on my record; not recommended for employment.
    Bahaha. I split my sides laughing now; the pain they put me through, it seemed endless, eternity, like Hell; but I am choking with laughter now, because I know what they are facing and they won’t handle it like I have.
    Royal Commission Tasmania.
    Release Sue Neill-Fraser NOW.

  2. In Oz, the colluding and venal cohorts of individuals who practice the same tactics call it a good old fashioned verbal. The apology is about as much value to the sentenced man, as many of the “time serving”, cowards, ie, active or post 20 year policemen, are to Oz citizens; (“Time serving”, being a term used by Churchill to describe, waste of space, obsequious, dull conforming, sycophantic, ingratiating officers). A credible individual, being treated badly, would need to be be very careful, if one happened to want to speak up about a case, supposedly on their behalf, or for their benefit.

    • owen allen says:

      Try protecting oneself in Tasmania.
      Make a legitimate legal complaint against the wrong person, and the whole State can turn on you like rabid dogs or Tasmania Devils, that will clean up evidence like pigs.

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