CHINA: DEATH PENALTY UPHELD FOR GANG LEADER IN RAPE CASES
December 31, 2019:
Twenty-one years after being sentenced to death for rapes and other crimes, Sun Xiaoguo had his death penalty upheld by the Yunnan High People's Court on 23 December 2019. The court said he had been given an improper early release from prison and sentence reduction. (Sources: chinadaily.com.cn, 24/12/2019)
In 1998, Sun, then 21, was sentenced to death by the Kunming Intermediate People's Court in Yunnan for rape, intentional injury, insulting women and disturbing public order. But the sentence was reduced to death with a two-year reprieve by the Yunnan High People's Court in 1999, and in 2007 was then further cut to 20 years in prison.
Sun was freed in April 2010 after serving 12 years and five months in prison in what courts later called a miscarriage of justice.
In October, the high people's court began reconsidering Sun's 1998 case after a series of investigations, reviews of files and materials and visits to people involved in the case suggested the law was wrongly applied in its previous rulings.
On 23 December, the court confirmed the wrongful application of the law, saying the judicial misconduct had to be corrected and the original conviction and sentence given by the lower court upheld.
The high people's court released some details about Sun's offenses in the late 1990s after the latest decision. It found Sun raped four girls, including one under the age of 14, between April and June 1997.
In November of that year, Sun seized two 17-year-old girls in public places and violently assaulted them, seriously injuring one of them, the court found. In July and October 1997, Sun also disturbed public order and assaulted and injured three other people, the court said.