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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Former tycoon's death sentence weighs heavily

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

08:27, February 08, 2012

Wu Ying stands trial at Jinhua Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang province on April 16. The one-time business tycoon is waiting for the top court's final review of her death sentence. (China Daily Photo)

BEIJING - Wu Ying, a tycoon once listed among the richest women in China, has come to her last hope of survival.

The former 31-year-old billionaire, now on death row, is waiting for the top court's final review of her capital sentence, which was upheld by a local court last month, a few days ahead of the Chinese New Year.

Shen Ziming, the presiding judge of the case from the High People's Court of East China's Zhejiang province, told China News Service that the court endorsed the previous judgment after finding the defendant illegally raised up to 770 million yuan ($122 million) from 11 lenders with the promise of high returns from 2005 to 2007, and hence should be "severely punished" for the apparent Ponzi-like scheme, as she has "brought huge losses to the nation and people with her serious crimes".

Shen said Wu concealed her debt to lenders and pretended to be financially powerful by "showing off jewelry and registering nominal companies".

According to China's criminal code, a person convicted of financial fraud is punishable by death if the money involved is "especially huge" and an "especially heavy loss" of the interests has been made to the state and the people.

Although some legal experts supported the judgment, wide sympathy and pleas for the fair-skinned woman with a short haircut have quickly ranked top on the country's most popular micro-blogging site.

Speculation swirled around both the suitability of the charge and whether capital punishment is too severe for a non-violent financial crime.

Zhang Sizhi, an 85-year-old barrister with national renown, wrote an open letter to the top court and pleaded for re-consideration when it exerted its right of review, for there are still "reasonable doubts".

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Leave your comment17 comments

  1. Name

Paty at 2012-02-1398.71.179.*
Chinese rich hope to follow the penaties of the west where the west allow criminals to negotiate, pay a pittance fine, and be free to do it all over again. That is why certain factions insist on having a lawyer in every family, to be criminals and get away with it. Soon you have a country with no morals policing the world while suing anyone that dares sign their contracts. Don"t go out on a limb and think you are doing any favours by letting her off. She is just the beginning.
PD User at 2012-02-13124.105.119.*
Deth penalty - you are not applicable in many country such as Philippines. For if you are applicable here, then all govertment officials will be dead.... In her case, death is right for this is the law and must apply to all, otherwise none at all.
PD User at 2012-02-10208.70.28.*
ming chu(US) wish to comment more on Wu Ying and the death penalty ....The very rich and wealthy people in America do not go to jail for serious crimes because they have good lawyers . In the case of Wu Ying of China , why should she be condemned to death ( her head chop off )?.....A true incident illustrates my point : A Chinese woman in this City of America walks out of this Chinese grocery store without paying for it--2 large bags of groceries--the store owner caught her , held her for the police . How embarrassed ashamed in tears she was in front of the other people . I am not a rich man but I paid the total cost of the grocers . I told her not to come back to this store .....maybe this woman have children waiting at home , waiting for dinner , maybe her husband is sick , cannot work . Show mercy and you will receive mercy . If I can afford $122 millions , Wu Ying would be a free woman today . Don"t chop her head off , execute here by the death penalty .
Tracker at 2012-02-09122.107.87.*
To prove a case the courts must prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that the person did indeed commit the crime but "to err is human" (we all make mistakes) and the severity of the sentence for making a mistake in law (even unknowingly) should be adjusted in accordance with the crime as not knowing the law is no excuse. I have no time or sympathy for criminals but is China sure they have the right criminal ? A jail sentence fair enough but the death penalty for a lesser charge of fraud.. hmmmm, alarm bells are ringing and something is wrong here but I am sure if Wu Ying is executed there will be some very relieved corrupt officials or businessmen. The death penalty should only be applied when the crime is "beyond reasonable doubt" and the punishment should fit the crime.
PD User at 2012-02-09220.164.118.*
One of famous Scientific Laws - for every action, equal and opposite reaction. She did not commit any physically violent crime, so no death sentence accordingly. She cheated someone of 1000 yuan? (one month"s average pay?), make her work for one and quater month, to pay back that someone she cheated (1000 yuan plus 1/4% interest. Oh..forgot to calculate in legal fees, court fees, etc.). If she cheated several people of several million yuan, well, you do the math- maybe several lifetimes of working in prison? I feel she should not be given the death sentence, but no free meals idling in prison for her or anyone either!

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