He Spent 26 Years in a Chinese Prison. Then He Was Cleared of Murder.

A court in eastern China convicted Zhang Yuhuan in 1995 for the murder of two boys. His exoneration has grabbed headlines, though legal reforms have been sluggish.

The New York Times
Date: Aug. 6, 2020
By: Paul Mozur

A detention center in Beijing. In 2019 the conviction rate for Chinese courts stood at 99.9 percent.Credit…Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Chinese court on Wednesday exonerated a man who had spent more than 26 years in prison for the murder of two boys, a striking sign of the deep flaws in China’s criminal justice system, and new, if halting, efforts at reform.

Zhang Yuhuan, 53, was arrested in 1993 after the police discovered the bodies of two boys who lived near him in the eastern province of Jiangxi. A court sentenced him to a suspended death sentence on the strength of two confessions and evidence that included scratches on his hands.

In a video interview, Mr. Zhang said police officers tortured him for at least six days after his arrest. He still has scars from bites after they turned dogs on him, he said.

On Wednesday, the high court in Jiangxi said the original conviction was based on incomplete evidence and contradictory confessions and it released him. Chinese television news showed his teary reunion with his elderly mother and ex-wife, who helped him appeal the conviction throughout his incarceration.    [FULL  STORY]