[KCLPASS Columns 2016-2017 Issue #2]

Jia Jinglong, a Chinese farmer aged 30, was executed on Tuesday, after he’d been convicted of killing a village official since his home was mandatory dismantled. In the past few months, the public has shown a sympathy towards the farmer, seeing this as another government snub against the vulnerable group.

The government has proposed a new property development scheme, and the surrounding buildings in the estate Mr Jia is living in have to be knocked down. Mr Jia’s father has agreed on the compensation and a new apartment promised by the government in exchange, but Mr Jia refused to compromise. Yet, the demolition was still forced to be carried out.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Jia’s fiancée cancelled the scheduled wedding. Mr Jia then appealed to local officers and complained about the insufficiency of compensation. However, the acts were ignored and until he was fed up with the disregard from the government. With unbearable anger, he shot down a local officer Mr He.

These result from the rapid urbanization in China. The execution has raised public awareness for an increasingly serious problem in China – forced demolition, the main cause for this tragedy. In consequence from this phenomenon, numerous farmers have already set themselves on fire to protest against the government. Farmers have a limited education and are placed at the bottom in the society, often finding the judicial system unfair and unreliable.

This issue was noticed by scholars and lawyers, and argued for Mr Jia, claiming that the decision of execution didn’t take into consideration his home being destroyed as the main cause for the crime and also his contrition afterwards. This has been seen as lack of fairness and justice in the China’s current legal system. Yet, The People’s daily viewed the above points to be biased, and supported that the court should remain its legal decision while facing public anger, although this newspaper is controlled by the Communist Party.

Although the officials have attempted to calm the public, the denounce has already created a certain impact on China’s death penalty system. The execution of Mr Jia has pulled the public to concern current problems occurring with China’s judicial system, and reflect on the rights and consequence of the powerless in such society.

Author: Tiffany Ha
KCLPASS Sub-committee member 2016-17
(The view of the author does not represent the position of the Society. KCLPASS is a politically neutral society.)

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