In Peking, a driver convicted of raping and murdering a young woman was executed by firing squad on Saturday (18 August).
In Peking, a driver convicted of raping and murdering a young woman was executed by firing squad on Saturday (18 August). The case received an unusual amount of attention in China with both the original trial in July and the appeal in August being held in public and televised.
SYNOPSIS: Forty-three year old Li Bendong was sentenced to death on July the 19th by the International People's Court of Peking. According to the prosecution Li Bendong attacked twenty-six year old Li Fengzhen on November the 10th last year and hammered her to death after raping her. The girl had just alighted from a train for a stop-over in Peking on her way home to Shanghai.
The defence pleaded for leniency on the grounds that the accused had confessed his crime immediately after his arrest. The five hundred people in the audience though reacted favourably to the verdict. One primary school teacher commented that the court would have to be cruel to good people if it showed mercy to what he called "bad guys" like Li Bendong.
According to a Chinese law passed in 1954 all alleged offences must be tried publicly except in special cases. But during the years of the Gang of Four, almost all trials were held behind closed doors. And even today a public trial such as this is unusual.