Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Beijing bomber who hoped to attract police so they could discuse has been sentenced for 6years

Ji Zhongxing
A DISABLED wheelchair-bound man who set off a home-made bomb at Beijing's main airport in protest after he was almost bashed to death by government officials will spend the next six years in jail.

A Chinese court yesterday found wheelchair-bound Ji Zhongxing guilty of detonating the small explosive device in the arrivals hall of the international airport in July.

Ji, 34, lost his left hand in the blast and appeared for his trial on a stretcher. Continue....

The blast injured a police officer and shut down parts of one of the world's busiest airports.

Ji - who has been in hospital under police arrest since the incident - has spent 10 years demanding compensation for an attack that left him disabled.

The former taxi driver had initially been handing out protest flyers to arriving passengers that read "paying off old scores".

The judges described the six-year sentences as "light" because of his physical condition.

The case has captivated China and highlighted the lack of support given to victims of violence.

Ji has constantly claimed he was beaten by government security guards in an unprovoked attack in Dongguan.

High-profile lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan defended Ji, arguing no one had been charged over that initial attack. "Dongguan authorities continue to ignore his petitions for punishment of the attackers," Mr Liu wrote on his microblog. Ji is likely to appeal the sentence.

"We believe that this verdict is questionable," Mr Liu said. "During the trial, they didn't seek to find out the facts."

Ji Zhongji said during the hearing that his family was keen to see justice for the men who beat his brother.

"I don't think it was my brother's intention to set off the explosive," he said.

"He is innocent, and it is the men who beat him (in Dongguan) eight years ago who should get punished."

Ji Zhongxing is sentenced at the Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court on Tuesday.

Condemnation and sympathy

The attack drew widespread condemnation but also sympathy from many Chinese who said it shows the government ignores the powerless and marginalised.

The Beijing Chaoyang District Court said on its microblog that the explosion inside the crowded airport and Ji's transporting of the device by public bus from Shandong constituted a major threat to public safety.

But it said it decided on a lighter sentence because Ji had warned onlookers that he had a bomb and had cooperated with prosecutors.

Response to the verdict online was generally positive, although some questioned whether the government was sincere in investigating Ji's earlier beating.

Xu Xin, a legal commentator, wrote in his verified account on the Twitter-like Weibo that Ji's sentence was relatively light.

"Well, that's that. At least in prison, his life will have some sort of order," Xu wrote.

Redress for grievances

Gong Liegang, a lawyer based in Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province, called the sentence "abnormally harsh" and described Ji as "a vulnerable person" who had no other way to protect his rights.

Chinese unable to win redress for grievances have in the past resorted to extreme measures, including bombings, but such incidents are rare because of tight state security.

Ji had been petitioning Chinese authorities for years after the 2005 attack, which left him paralysed from the waist down and more than $16,000 in debt, according to his elder brother Ji Zhongji.

Ji's sentence comes weeks after the execution of a Chinese kebab vendor, who was convicted of killing two city officials, prompted public criticism of a justice system said to punish the poor harshly while letting the rich and powerful off more lightly.

Ji's protest in July had come just days after security workers apparently beat to death a watermelon vendor in southern Hunan province in a dispute over where he could sell his fruit.

Both cases have drawn public criticism about official abuse of power.

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