Ongoing Investigation of Henan Citizen’s “Killing Police”

Life is difficult. Lifes of the petitioners are filled with even more sorrow. This is a republished article, concerning Xu Youchen’s death penalty established by the first trial court. Although he killed a person, he does not deserve to die. The way that death penalty overshadows the defect of the system needs to be stopped.

An ambulance rushed out of the gate of the police station, heading three hundred meters away for the Jiaozuo City Zhongzhan District Hospital. A brief silence cut through the noisy police station courtyard, as the Zhang Xiaoyu couple frozen in the van where they just “killed” a person.

This was July 17, 2014, around 6:30 pm. At this time, the Yuejin Road outside the police station was filled with hasty people heading home from work. But there were two families who didn’t see their loved ones come home that night.

51-year-old police officer Wang Jungan died in this hot summer night. His lower abdomen was stabbed by a 20-centimeter fruit knife. The suspects were a petitioner couple from the local district: 54-year-old Xu Youchen and his 53-year-old wife Zhang Xiaoyu.

Wang Jungan was transferred to the Zhongzhan police station only ten days ago. Before this fatal encounter, he and Xu Youchen couple have never met, nor do they have any feud.

On the morning of July 17, 27-year-old Xu Tianlong received a call from his mother, Zhang Xiaoyu, from Beijing. She said that the authorities have promised to resolve their case, she and his father is on a train, and that they’ll be home around 4:00 pm this afternoon… Xu Tianlong was cooking at that moment, so he impatiently interrupted her, and hung up. He regretted this decision till today.

3:56 PM, train K268, hailing from Beijing, arrived in Jiaozuo. Around 6 pm, Xu Tianlong received her mother’s call again, saying that she and his father had arrived Jiaozuo, but they’re taken to the police station. This time, Zhang Xiaoyu told his son that if they’re not home within 24 hours, then he need to call their attorney, Chang Weiping, and she gave him attorney Chang’s phone number.

Moments before, 60-year-old Xu Fenglian received her brother Xu Youchen’s call, who also said that they’re home, but they’re taken to a police station. During the call, Xu Fenglian heard many odd noises, mixed with the sharp voice of her sister in law, Zhang Xiaoyu. The call was short, and Xu Fenglian wasn’t that worried. Her brother had accompanied his wife to petition for many years, and it’s very common for them to be taken into the police station. In here eyes, they will be home the next day.

No one foresaw the tragedy that occurred in the police station yard: officer Wang Jungan was stabbed by a fruit knife, and died that night. While Xu Youchen and Zhang Xiaoyu couple was immediately arrested by Jiaozuo City Public Security Bureau as suspects for “intentional homicide”.

Wang Jungan was cremated in the Jiaozuo City funeral home, and a solemn memorial ceremony was held in July 21. More than 400 people, including his relatives, friends, and colleagues, attended the farewell ceremony.

Earlier on July 19, the Jiaozuo Zhongzhan Publicity Office published the “Jiaozuo Zhongzhan, July 17, Assault on Police case briefing,” it reads: “Xu Youchen and Zhang Xiaoyu, residents of Jiaozuo City Zhongzhan District, were disciplined by the Beijing police on July 15 for disturbing public order in Beijing and escorted back to their hometown by Jiaozuo government employees on July 17. At 6 pm on the same day, when the Zhongzhan police station officer Wang Jungan was trying to persuade the couple to get off the van and be interrogated, Xu Youchen suddenly took out a knife and stabbed the officer. Wang Jungan was severely wounded, he was unfortunately sacrificed.”

But what really happened in this fatal afternoon of July 17, from the couple entered the police station, to 6 pm when the killing occurred? The briefing did not answer this question.

After the government staff left, the petitioner “confronted” the police.

This took place in a small courtyard near a road cross of Yuejin Road, Zhongzhan District, Jiaozuo City. It’s ​​about fifty or sixty square meters, and the door sign reads “Jiaozuo Public Security Bureau Zhongzhan Police Station Community Squadron First Unit”. Before the Henan police launched the “large police station system”, it serves as “Lifeng police station”. Although the police station moved away, the locals still referred it as a “police station”.

In the yard against the wall, there is a billboard posted the administration division map and the id photos of the policemen, but the new transferred Wang Jungan’s photo was not included.

“All year around” petitioners, the Zhang Xiaoyu couple, living in the Lifeng area, were originally charged by another local officer.

Through investigation, our reporter tried to restore some events before Zhang Xiaoyu couple “assaulted the police”: In late June of this year, the Zhang Xiaoyu couple went to Beijing for another petition, while their new built house’s ceiling was drying. Before their departure, Zhang Xiaoyu posted a photo on her Microblog: the couple was holding their train tickets, as usual. Although they’re smiling in the photo, their expressions still revealed their sorrow.

During this petition journey, according to Zhang Xiaoyu’s blog, the couple protested in front of some ministries, appeared in the streets of Beijing and attended the petitioner’s meeting while wearing a T-shirt with words of “support Xi & Li anti-corruption.” They were dispersed as usual, according to the Jiaozuo case briefing: they were “disciplined by the Beijing police”

According to recourses, up until July 17, the Zhang Xiaoyu couple were escort from Beijing by a Deputy Secretary (female) of Zhongzhan District Politics and Law Committee, and a police officer from Zhongzhan Public Security Bureau. The two officials promised the Zhang Xiaoyu couple that the government would resolve their case after they returned to their hometown. Therefore, the couple, who had intermittently petitioned for nearly 10 years, finally agreed to return to Jiaozuo.

By now, in their hometown, their house was not yet complete, and their son’s wedding was also coming. It seemed that they really intended to go home this time. They even cleaned up daily necessities in Beijing that they used when they’re living in Beijing for petitions, and brought back several extra luggages.

It was a peaceful ride back home. As a staff from Lifeng subdistrict office of Zhongzhan District said: “they were in a happy mood the entire trip.” When the train arrived Jiaozuo, Lifeng subdistrict office sent a van to pick them up. But the van did not bring the Zhang Xiaoyu couple back home, but directly to the police station. It’s 16:20 at this point.

According to the insiders, this arrangement not only surprised Zhang Xiaoyu couple, but also the officials who escorted them home from Beijing. In the police station, the two officials also made phone calls, trying to “coordinate”, but there were no results. The two officials soon left bitterly.

Just like that, the Zhang Xiaoyu couple was transferred from the government officials to the police station. And officer Wang Jungan was pushed to the forefront of the two sides’ stalemate confrontation.

Subsequently, the Zhang Xiaoyu couple and the police have been deadlocked in the police station yard, revolving around issues such as the presence of a subpoena and if this process was legal.

The briefing claimed:” Zhang Xiaoyu couple has been always staying in the van.” However, it’s certain that Xu Youchen had left the van once during the period.

On July 24, before a door of an electric bicycle shop, 40 meters away from the station, a relative of Xu Youchen told our reporter that at he saw Xu Youchen walking to the police station around four or five pm, and he hastily greeted Xu: “you’re back?” Because everybody knew that they were petitioning in Beijing. Xu Youchen replied in a rush, and walked away. After the incident, the police investigated all local merchants around the police station, including this relative. However, during the reporter’s investigation, locals were closely guarded against this matter.

So, what happened between the time when Xu Youchen returned to the van, and refused to get off with his wife, to 6 pm when the killing occurred?Up until this point, the police did not have a response. But according to attorney Chang’s understandings, they were “relatively peaceful” at that time, and no intense conflict broke out.

The greatest mystery in this case remained: where did the weapon come from?

The police established that it was a twenty to thirty centimeters fruit knife that caused Wang Jungan’s death. Where did the knife come from?This is the key issue.

Upon further understandings, the police determined that the knife was bought by Xu Youchen. But the defense attorney believed that this couldn’t be confirmed.

On July 25, after the attorneys’ several insists and requests, the Jiaozuo City Detention Center accepted Li Jinxing, Liu Jinbin, Liu Shuqing, Liu Lei’s request, and arranged their meetings with Xu Youchen and Zhang Xiaoyu.

After the meeting, Xu Youchen’s attorney Li Jinxing released photos in Microblog. Xu Youchen’s wounds are clearly visible in those photos. His left eye was almost entirely bruised and swollen, covered with bloodstains as well; wounds and scars were also on his leg and hands. Zhang Xiaoyu’s attorney, Liu Shuqing told reporter that Zhang had to be helped into the interview room. She told attorney Liu during the interview, that she was beaten and roughly treated after the incident: “rains of smacks fell down upon me”, her vision are severely damaged due to these violet treatments.

After the interview, the attorneys believed that Xu Youchen and Zhang Xiaoyu might have been tortured to extort confession, and they filed a complaint on July 26 to the Henan Provincial Public Security Department. Henan Provincial Public Security Department responded on same day that there were no torture, and the injuries were caused during the process of arrest, etc. In this regard, Liu Shuqing and other attorneys believed that the explanation was not true, because Zhang Xiaoyu and Xu Youchen had no motive to hurt the police. The murder should be the aftermath of an accident, and in the stalemate there was no intense conflicts from both sides. The couple’s injuries were caused during later interrogations.

“The interrogation room should have camera or law enforcement recorder. We hope the police will release these evidence.” Liu Shuqing said. He and Liu Hao are Zhang Xiaoyu’s attorneies.

Liu Shuqing lawyer revealed that, during the interview, Zhang Xiaoyu said she had no idea where the knife came from and how the police was killed. At that time she and her husband Xu Youchen were requested to step out of the van separately from the two sides, but the incident occurred before she stepped out. Given this situation, the attorney proposed to the police for Zhang Xiaoyu’s guaranteed pending trial (bail).

In the eyes of a Henan local attorney, who observed this case from the start: in addition to the source of the fruit knife, whether the couple has been tortured, there are still many mysteries in this case: even if the suspect Xu Youchen obtained the fruit knife, how did the contradictions intensify?How did the knife pierce the victim? What was the depth of the wound? Was it fatal? Was there any other pathological incentives, etc.?

And many legal professionals believe that all of these mysteries and suspicions won’t be able to be completely clarified, because the body of the victim was hastily cremated after the incident.

“Corpses are very important evidences. In recent years, many controversies and disputes have been caused by autopsy. The justice of the autopsy rests on the proficiency of the forensic, the precision of the instruments, as well as the objective position of examiner etc. Now as they cremated the corpse in such a rush, it’s actually rather hasty,” said the previous lawyer.

This Lawyer became a “suspect” at one point.

“What happened at that time, was that the lawyers even had no time to stop the local authorities from cremating the corpse.” attorney Chang Weiping told reporter.

According to Chang Weiping, he rushed from Xi’an and arrived in Jiaozuo on the night of Friday, July 18. Jiaozuo City Public Security Bureau had held Zhang Xiaoyu under administrative detention for 9 days in last November, due to her consisted petition. After being released, Zhang Xiaoyu believed she was illegally detained, so she hired Chang Weiping to sue the Public Security Bureau. In March 2016, after Jiaozuo Zhongzhan District Court refused to accept the case, Chang Weiping submitted the relevant materials to the Jiaozuo Intermediate People’s Court, but the Court has not yet response.

In the afternoon of July 17, Zhang Xiaoyu called Mr. Chang three times. According to attorney Chang. In the first call, she said she arrived in Jiaozhou from Beijing, and she was outside the police station. During the other two calls, the background was very noisy, and she is yelling at someone in an Henan accent. “I don’t understand the Henan accent, but I felt in her tone that she was in danger. I reminded her to be safe, and keep restraint.” Mr. Chang recalled.

Then they lost connection. On July 18, after Chang Weiping received a call from Xu Tianlong, the son of Zhang Xiaoyu, he knew that the Zhang Xiaoyu couple has been arrested for murder. He decided to take the case and defend Zhang Xiaoyu due to his moral responsibility

It was the weekend, so he can’t submit an application. But, in the Monday morning of July 21, the victim Wang Jungan’s body was cremated. In the same morning, Chang Weiping went to the detention center and request a meeting with Zhang Xiaoyu, but he was rejected. When he went to the Zhongzhan police station again that afternoon, the police issued him an “inquiry notice”, requesting him to provide the recording of cellphone conversations between him and Zhang Xiaoyu before the incident.

In this way, Chang Weiping’s defense attorney’s identity would be converted into a witness. This was resisted by Chang Weiping. He believed that, as a defense attorney, he has a duty of confidentiality to his client, and also because of professional ethics, he can’t be a witness to the police. But the police firmly required him to stay, and restricted his rights. It has been stalemate until 10 pm; the police station finally issued Chang Weiping a “subpoena”, held a mandatory measure on him because he was “suspected of intentional homicide,” and forcedly took the conversation recording between he and Zhang Xiaoyu from his phone. And he was interrogated in the early morning from 1 am to 4 am.

Until 10 am, the police dismissed Chang Weiping. According to Mr. Chang, he was locked in the trial chair for 12 hours during the interrogation.

After Mr. Chang’s experience spread through the internet, it arouse concerns from attorneys nation wide. Some attorneys have jointly asked the National Association of Lawyers to see this case, they believed that the Jiaozuo police has serious infringed upon the attorney’s the right to practice law and the right of their personal dignity, and that the association should immediately start the process of investigation.

From July 22, many attorneys, including Mr. Chen Taihe, came to Jiaozuo to support Mr.Chang, and replace Mr. Chang as the Zhang Xiaoyu couple’s attorneys in the murder case. Up to this point, Zhang Xiaoyu and Xu Youchen each have two attorneys as their criminal defenders.

“You have not a bit of compassion for the dead police officer!” attorney Chang recalled that the words that the police shout at him when he was interrogated. The representing attorneys believed that if the investigation was held by Zhongzhan police station, because their expected emotional factors, the result probably will be injustice. So at the beginning, they applied for the police station to avoid itself in handling the case

July 25, the Henan Provincial Public Security Department made a public response to the five collectively reflected questions from the attorneys, and published in the “Safe Central Plains” on Microblog. For the application of avoidance, it gave a clear answer: the Criminal Procedure Law does not require a public security organization to avoid itself as whole under any situation, so the case investigated by Zhongzhan police station does not violate the law.

The basic level police officer died in the petition conflict.

Leaving Jiaozuo city, heading to the west, crossing corn fields, old tracks and those low, dusted houses, the reporter arrived in the ​​Zhuchun Mine. Zhucun Mine was once one of the four biggest mines under the Jiaozuo Mining Bureau, and it’s still customarily referred as the “miner village.”

The home of the dead police officer Wang Jungan is here. After retired from the northeast army in 1982, Wang Jungan had been working in the securities in Zhuchun Mine for a long time. Later, he passed the recruitment exam, and then became a formal police officer.

Wang Jungan’s home was originally located in the shantytown of the Mine. About fourteen or fifteen years ago, the mine built residential buildings, and Wang Jungan was allocated an apartment. He lived there ever since.

In the eyes of his neighbors, Wang Jungan was tall and pale, he didn’t talk much, but he “looked kind.” His wife worked in Zhuchun police station census register office. She retired after the Mine was “bankrupted” and reformed in 2003. Their daughter is still in college.

This most basic police officer, living an ordinary life, but his life was shattered by this sudden disaster.

July 24, Wang Jungan’s relatives politely declined the interview of our reporter. A relative told our reporter that after the incident, Wang Jungan’s wife and daughter are subject to great mental trauma, and they’re not able to conduct interviews. The neighbors told our reporter that Wang Jungan’s parents are both in rural areas. His mother was hospitalized after the horrible incident.

A neighbor said, on July 21, Wang Jungan’s funeral day, the surrounding roads were closed, and wreaths filled the neighborhood. Neighbors said two buses brougt his relatives and friends from nearby villages, and a lot of his former colleagues also came to pay respect. In the silent crowd, listening to his wife and daughter weeping, which “made people’s hearts broken”.

From the Wang Jungan’s home, the reporter took No. 2 bus to the city, through the dusty streets, and some desolate fields, spent 10 RMB for a Taxi, and then arrived the Zhongzhan Public Security Bureau where he worked until his death. On the electric sign on the gate, a line of scarlet letters is still flashing: “mourning our Comrade Wang Jungan, convert grief to power, and win the summer competition.”

July 24 afternoon, in the Xiangyang community where the Zhang Xiaoyu couple lives, a community staff lamented, this incident had destroyed both families.

“This is a tragedy. It doesn’t’ matter if it’s to the petitioners or to the police, it’s a lose-lose situation. The officer is dead, and the Zhang Xiaoyu couple may be end up in jail. The petition was originally an administrative affair, while the police’s life was the victim on the front line of the safeguard stability system.” July 23rd, Mr. Chang said.

According to our reporter, Wang Jungan’s death held a great influence in the local police community. Zhang Maichang, a teacher from Shanxi Police Vocational College, said that in recent years, the police in the basic level are working under a great pressure, and with the appearance of the social contradictions, some local governments are abusing the police force. Such as the use of police force to deal with petition events.

July 28, the reporter called the Public Security Department of Henan Province, and an official of the Propaganda Department told reporter that the Henan Provincial Public Security Department took this case very seriously, and had made a public response to the attorneys’ various issues raised by the case. But he said that he has no personal knowledge concerning the case. Reporters tried to contact other officials of this Department, but no results returned.

This article was first published in the July 29, 2014 “Huashang News”

Reprinted from: New snow visit

Source: New Citizen Movement

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