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Harbin: reinvestigation into BMW traffic offense
( 2004-01-14 09:57) (People's Daily)

Political and judicial organs and other departments concerned in Heilongjiang Province and Harbin city are going in for serious investigation and reinvestigation into Su Xiuwen's "BMW case" which has already drawn extensive concern in the public, according to a person in charge with the News Office of Harbin municipal government.

The victim Liu Zhongxia lies on the ground after hit by a BMW jeep driven by Su Xiuwen. [Sina/file]
The personage pointed out that the key questions in the reinvestigation include whether the nature of the case is determined accurately, whether the punishment is proper, whether the trial procedure is in line with the law and whether there is a judicial corruption.

Heilongjiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China studied the case at a conference presided by Song Fatang, secretary of the Party committee on December 30, 2003 and confirmed that investigation and reinvestigation to be held by political and judicial organs.

At about 10:26 a.m. October 16, 2003, Dai Yiquan, who was driving a four-wheel vehicle for agricultural use went scraping with the BMW jeep Su Xiuwen parked by the roadside. Su Xiuwen got off the car, rated at and beat Dai Yiquan and then was checked by onlookers. Then Su Xiuwen got into the car and suddenly drove dashing forward and killed the victim Liu Zhongxia (Dai Yiquan's wife) at the scene. Another 12 onlookers were injured. Public security organ concerned arrested Su Xiuwen on spot. On December 20, 2003, the Daoli District Court of Harbin municipality held a hearing of the case ruling it that the accused Su Xiuwen who committed traffic offenses, was sentenced two years in prison with a suspension of three years.

The suspect, Su Xiuwen is standing trail.
The judgement roused a great outcry in public opinions. Online comments say, "Su Xiuwen is a relative of a leader of Heilongjiang Province," and Su's husband a business tycoon. They "removed the obstacles with money," and witnesses were made silent etc. In summary, people's doubts about the "BMW case" include"

--Whether the nature of the case is properly determined- whether it is a "lapse in operation", "traffic offense" or "involuntary manslaughter" even "deliberate killing?"

--Whether the punishment is proper- is it too light for the accused to be jailed for two years yet suspended for three years?

--Whether the trial procedure is in line with the law- whether the evidence gained by the public security organ is true? Why all witnesses keep their mouths shut up?

--Is there any judicial corruption- are there senior leaders maneuvering the case? Is there any personal connection involved?

For the various question marks among the public, local political and judicial organs promised in public: "give the public a responsible answer." The People's Daily will keep its eye on the case.

With the detailed report on the open hearing of the case, Chen Guangzhong, professor with China University of Political Science and Law holds that some doubtful points do exist in the case. First is the investigation stage. Since Dai Yiquan accused Su Xiuwen "deliberate killing" when the traffic police took notes for him, the traffic policemen should launch in-depth investigation through this clue and submit the case to criminal police if they could confirm the suspicion of the killing. However, they did not do this. Second is the stage of hearing in which none of the more than ten witnesses appeared in court and their written testimonies were contradictory to each other. Whether the testimonies of the witnesses are true should be verified at the court. However, this important step was omitted during the hearing of the case.

In terms of the punishment, Professor Chen holds that the result of the case, one dead and twelve injured, is serious and the punishment given to Su Xiuwen is obviously a bit too light.

He reckons that the resumption of investigation serves to pave the way for launching the trial supervision program in the next step. However, persons with the court and those involved in the previous investigation should be bypassed.

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