Convicted migrant worker killer waits for final verdict
A murderer sentenced to death for killing four and seriously injuring one in a fit of rage over delayed wages waits for a court in Northwest China to hand out its verdict.
An intermediate people's court in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region sentenced Wang Binyu to death earlier this year because the desperate migrant worker, failing to obtain his overdue payment, stabbed his foreman and the foreman's three family members and seriously wounded a co-worker.
Wang later appealed to the Ningxia High People's Court, but the court has yet to make its decision.
The high court refused to comment on the case before it hands down its verdict.
"The high court has exceeded the time limit for handing down the verdict," the plaintiff's attorney Wu Shaozhi told China Daily in a telephone interview yesterday. "But it might be good news for Wang Binyu as it shows the court is dealing with the case in detail and public opinion will be more influential."
Wu is expected to arrive in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, today in a final attempt to persuade the court to hand down a "death with years of reprieve" penalty, a less severe punishment that means he could spend time in jail instead.
The lawyer said the public has shown tremendous sympathy for Wang and his family by giving him many donations including cash.
Wang's story has been widely reported in the media since earlier this month. The tragedy triggered widespread discussion about the fairness of the penalty.
Wu said yesterday that Wang's behaviour is an example of "undue defence," meaning he had used excessive measures to protect himself. What's more, Wang had urgently needed the money to support himself and his family, Wu added.
"As for the whole picture, China is on its way to abolish the death penalty," said Wu, who insisted Wang deserves a less severe penalty.
In a fit of rage, the 28-year-old man killed his foreman Wu Hua and Wu's three family members in May after failing to claim more than 5,000 yuan (US$620) wages.
The public showed great sympathy for him partly because before the violence, Wang, who needed the money to pay for medical costs for his father, had asked local courts and labour department for help without success.
As he once again approached the contractors and foreman to get his wages, the young man was abused and beaten up by them.
"I couldn't stand it any more," Wang said afterwards. "I was fed up with them, and I stabbed five persons with a knife." Wang then turned himself in to the police.
Peking University's Law School professor Chen Xingliang, however, contended that Wang's reaction is definitely not undue defence, and the hope is slim for the high court to change the original sentence.
But the fact that Wang committed the violence in a fit of anger and later turned himself in might somewhat help him, Chen said.
The case also sheds light on the lack of effective legal remedies for the underprivileged group of migrant workers.
According to statistics released by the People's Daily on Monday, the growing source of labour consists of 120 million rural workers that contribute more than 530 billion yuan (US$65.4 billion) a year to local economies outside their hometowns.
(China Daily 09/21/2005 page3)