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Liaoning High Peoples Court Must Overturn Death Sentence Given to Street Vendor Xia Junfeng, Victim of Official Violence

 (ChineseHuman Rights Defenders- June 28, 2010) OnJune 29, the Liaoning Provincial High People’s Court (Liaoning HPC)willconvene an open court session to hear the appeal of Xia Junfeng (夏俊峰),a street vendor inShenyang City who was sentenced to death for killing two CityAdministration andLaw Enforcement officials (chengguan)as he was being violently beaten by them. Xia maintains that he wasacting inself-defense. CHRD believes that Xia’s conviction for intentionalhomicide isunjust and calls on the Liaoning HPC to overturn this ruling, sparingXia fromexecution.“Violenceby City Administration and Law Enforcementofficials against street vendors and other impoverished andmarginalizedcitizens in Chinese cities is a serious and well-documented problem,”saidRenee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “To execute Xia Junfeng fordefendinghimself in the face of one such instance of violence at the hands oftheseofficials would be a grave injustice.”Xia’sconviction stems from an incident on May 16,2009, when he was accosted by a group of more than ten officials fromtheShenhe District Office of the Shenyang City Administration and LawEnforcementBureau (沈阳市城市管理行政执法局沈河分局)whileselling food from a street stall in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Theofficials confiscated a gas canister belonging to Xia, and beganbeating him inthe street. They then took him to the Shenhe District Office, withoutproducingany legal documentation to authorize his detention, and three officerscontinuedto beat him.  While he was being beaten, Xiaproduced a knife which he used to prepare food at his stall, andstabbed theofficials, killing two and injuring the third.TheShenyang City Intermediate People’s Courtconvicted Xia of intentional homicide and sentenced him to death, alsoorderinghim to pay the families of the deceased 650,000 RMB in compensation.CHRD isconcerned that this trial was unjust: Xia’s wife Zhang Jing (张晶)hasstated that witnesses were prevented from testifying, evidence was notallowed to be presented, and facts relevant to the case were ignored bythecourt. Furthermore, prominent Beijing human rights lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪),whowill represent Xia during his appeal hearing, wrote on his Twitteraccountthat “the judge in the first instance trial advocated giving Xia asuspendeddeath sentence, but 'higher authorities' did not agree.”Tengbelieves that the Shenyang City IntermediatePeople’s Court made an “obvious error” in convicting Xia of intentionalhomicide, adding, "Xia did not commit a homicide; everything he did, hedid to avoid being beaten to death." RecommendationsCHRDcalls on the Liaoning HPC to overturn the convictionfor intentional homicide and the death sentence meted out to XiaJunfeng by theShenyang City Intermediate People’s Court. Xia must be provided with afairhearing, and his lawyer Teng Biao must be allowed to present a completedefenseon behalf of his client. CHRDdemands that the Chinese government investigatethe violent conduct of the Shenyang City Administration and LawEnforcementBureau officials. Any City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureauofficialswho are found to have acted illegally must be held accountable fortheiractions.Furthermore,CHRD continues to urge the Chinesegovernment to draft a timetable regarding the eventual abolition of thedeathpenalty. Until the death penalty is abolished, CHRD calls on thegovernment toput safeguards in place to significantly curtail the number ofexecutions andend abuses associated with the death penalty. ForMore Information, Please See:Astatement by Xia’s wife, Zhang Jing (in Chinese): statement prepared by Xia’s lawyer FanYulong (范玉龙)forXia’s first trial (in Chinese):, International Director (English andMandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286David Smalls, Researcher(English), +1 347 448 5285

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