《纽约时报》系列报道:《依法治国》之八(Rule by Law)

作者: 阮一峰

日期: 2006年4月27日

珠峰培训

从一个工人的死,看中国社会的不公平

作者:JIM YARDLEY

原载2005年12月31日《纽约时报》

榆家沟,中国 ---- 在等待枪决的死囚牢里,一个名叫王宾雨的农民工痛苦的讲起了他那辛酸的一生。他没有想到,这些话像深夜里的高声呼喊,在全国引起了回声。

他因为拿不到拖欠的工钱而杀人。三个星期来,中国的媒体和互联网都在热烈的讨论这件事情。很多人认为,对王宾雨的判决不公平。舆论呼吁对他减轻惩罚,律师们讨论处决的合理性。其他人则把这个案例看作极不公平的中国社会的又一个血淋淋的表现。

但是,到了9月底,各种声音突然都消声匿迹了。互联网上关于这件事的发言被审查,新闻媒体的报道被彻底禁止。王宾雨最后的上诉被匆匆忙忙的处理。他的父亲没有得到任何通知,偶然的才知道开庭的消息。他的律师也没有被允许参加。

"你们所有人都是一伙的,"在法庭上,28岁的王宾雨这样喊着。"如果你们要杀我,那就杀吧。"这是他在甘肃省老家的父亲接受采访时透露的。

10月19日,王宾雨被处决了。这件事进行得如此迅速,没有走漏任何风声,以至过了几个星期,他的死讯才传了出来。

中国每年处死的犯人,比全世界其他国家的总和还要多。根据某些估计,每年处决人数超过10000。中国政府严厉的死刑判决是维持政治统治、遏制犯罪和腐败的最厉害的工具。

但是,中国政府"依法治国"的承诺,使得死刑变成一个受人注目的焦点。即使在政府内部也有人怀疑,被处死的人中有很多是无辜的。今年就有一系列错误的死刑判决被曝光。

部分因为国际压力,改革死刑已经成为共产党控制的司法系统的优先考虑。如何改革《刑法》,正在司法系统内被广泛讨论。

(以下翻译略)

bg060427_1.jpg

插图一 王宾雨的父亲拿出儿子的照片。

bg060427_2.jpg

插图二 王宾雨的处决证明上记录了处决的时间,以及火化证明。

插图三 王宾雨的父亲和弟弟在甘肃省老家回忆王宾雨。他因为拿不到被拖欠工资,在一次纠纷中杀死四个人,处决时28岁。

=====================

In Worker's Death, View of China's Harsh Justice

By JIM YARDLEY

YUJIAGOU, China - From the prison cell where he contemplated an executioner's bullet, a migrant worker named Wang Binyu gave an anguished account of his wasted life. Unexpectedly, it rippled across China like a primal scream.

For three weeks, the brutal murders Mr. Wang committed after failing to collect unpaid wages were weighed on the Internet and in Chinese newspapers against the brutal treatment he had endured as a migrant worker. Public opinion shouted for mercy; lawyers debated the fairness of his death sentence. Others saw the case as a bloody symptom of the harsh inequities of Chinese life.

But then, in late September, the furor disappeared as suddenly as it had begun. Online discussion was censored and news media coverage was almost completely banned. Mr. Wang's final appeal was rushed to court. His father, never notified, learned about the hearing only by accident. His chosen defense lawyer was forbidden from participating.

"All of you are on the same side," Mr. Wang, 28, shouted during the hearing, his father said in an interview here in the family's home village in northern Gansu Province. "If you want to kill me, just kill me."

On Oct. 19, they did. Mr. Wang was executed so quickly, and quietly, that it took weeks for the word to fully trickle out that he was dead.

China executes more people every year than the rest of the world combined. By some estimates, the number of executions is more than 10,000 a year. The government's relentless death penalty machine has long been its harshest tool for maintaining political control and curbing crime and corruption.

But it has now become a glaring uncertainty about China's commitment to the rule of law. There is widespread suspicion, even within the government, that too many innocent people are sentenced to death. This year, a raft of cases came to light in which wrongful convictions had led to death sentences, or, in one well-publicized case, the execution of an innocent man.

Reforming capital punishment has become a priority within the Communist Party-controlled legal system, partly because of international pressure to reduce abuses. Within the party-run legislative system, there is a broader debate about how to improve criminal law.

But achieving those reforms is hardly certain. Hard-liners are loath to restrict the power of the police and the courts to take a tough line. Death penalty reforms announced by the People's Supreme Court - and broadly trumpeted in the state news media - are mostly just a return to the status quo of 1980.

The case of Wang Binyu lacked the moral clarity of an innocent man wrongly convicted. He killed four people in a rampage after a final dispute over wages. But his saga of abuse and disdain from his bosses resonated deeply with a public disgusted with corruption and inequality and resentful of a legal system perceived as favoring the wealthy and well connected.

"Wang was forced to fight against those who exploit and tread on the poor," one person wrote at a Chinese Web site. "Why is the law always tough on the poor?"

Mr. Wang's case also illustrates how a system built for convictions has few safeguards or protections for a defendant facing death. Officials in the High Court of Ningxia Autonomous Region, the area in western China where the case was heard, refused several requests for interviews. But Wu Shaozhi, the Beijing lawyer who tried to represent Mr. Wang, said the Ningxia courts obviously wanted fast results.

Before the appeal, the Wang family signed power of attorney to Mr. Wu. But Mr. Wu said court officials had initially lied, telling him the appeal was over. Then they refused to let him enter the case. Instead, Mr. Wang was represented by a lawyer approved by the court.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wu noted, the same judges who heard the appeal also concurrently handled a mandatory final review of the case. It meant that judges were reviewing their own ruling - a practice that legal experts said is not uncommon and provided little real check and balance on the use of the death penalty.

"An unjust procedure will undoubtedly lead to unjust results," Mr. Wu said.

China is wary enough about its death penalty system that it has long designated its number of executions as a state secret. A hint at the number came last year when a high-level delegate to the National People's Congress publicly estimated that it was "nearly 10,000." In 2004, Amnesty International documented at least 3,400 executions - out of 3,797 worldwide that year - but cautioned that China's number was probably far higher. Outside scholars have put the annual number as high as 15,000.

In late October, the People's Supreme Court announced that it would reverse a decision from the early 1980's that ceded the final review on many death penalty cases to provincial high courts. Legal analysts say Deng Xiaoping, then the paramount leader, ordered the move out of anger that courts were moving too slowly to crack down on crime. The shift meant that provincial courts could often operate without any oversight.

Under the new policy, the People's Supreme Court will reclaim responsibility for reviewing all capital cases. The state news media have estimated that executions could drop by as much as 30 percent - an estimate that could not be proved but that implied deep flaws within the current system.

"They feel that mistakes were made in so many cases," said Yi Yanyou, an associate professor at Tsinghua University Law School, in explaining the motive for the change. Mr. Yi said the new changes would be meaningful, but did not represent reform, because they merely re-established central control. One idea for a change that he offered was to require unanimous consent among judicial panels making final reviews.

He Weifang, a liberal constitutional scholar at Beijing University, said the new changes should improve the review process, but argued that only deeper constitutional reform, to establish a more independent judiciary, could remove the political pressures that can seep into many high-profile death cases.

Out in the arid hills of southern Gansu where farmers scratch a living from soil that seems as fertile as chalk, Mr. Wang's family is unaware of such legal debates. At age 15, Mr. Wang left home for migrant work after a childhood marred by poverty and tragedy. When he was a young child, his mother died after an infection from a botched sterilization. Family planning officials had ordered the procedure after she gave birth to Mr. Wang's younger brother. The family sued, without success.

Mr. Wang worked at a succession of migrant jobs until he took a job three years ago wrapping steel pipes in the power plant of a factory in Ningxia. His younger brother, Binyin, who also worked at the factory, described the bosses as brutal men who beat Binyu and later mocked him when he became sick with ulcers.

The bosses also withheld Binyu's salary for two years, a problem common to migrant workers. This spring, his father called to say he urgently needed surgery for a leg fracture. The brothers decided to quit and return home. But first they needed to collect more than $1,000 in unpaid wages.

For weeks, Wang Binyu approached the bosses to collect the money. At one point, Wu Hua, a foreman, promised to pay the brothers if they would work a few more weeks. They did so, but still were not paid. "Once, my brother went to the bosses and began crying and begging them to pay him," Wang Binyin said.

Finally this May, the factory boss, Chen Jiwei, relented and paid the 2004 salary, but only after making large deductions for fees and boarding expenses. He then refused to pay the 2005 wages until next year.

Frustrated, Wang Binyu sought help from the local labor bureau, but was told it had no jurisdiction. He went to the courts, but was told a legal case would take months. He then returned to the labor bureau, where a senior official agreed to intervene and persuaded a boss, Wu Xinguo, to pay the back wages within five days. It seemed like a victory.

But after leaving the labor bureau, Wu Xinguo barred the brothers from their dormitory. Later that night, locked out of their room, the brothers began beating on Wu Xinguo's door to demand payment. Wu Hua, the foreman, and others soon arrived and tried to run off the Wang brothers. The group began pushing and slapping Wang Binyu until a fight broke out. Wang Binyu, who was carrying a fruit knife, exploded in a rage that would end with four people dead and one injured.

Wang Binyin said he tried to pull his older brother away. He recalls saying: "You can't do this. We still have an old father at home. What am I going to do?" When the rampage ended, Wang Binyu tossed his knife in the Yellow River and turned himself in at a local police station. As it turned out, the two top bosses - Mr. Chen and Wu Xinguo - escaped harm.

Mr. Wang's initial trial, on June 29, ended with a death sentence. His family was not notified of the trial date and did not attend. He seemed destined to be one of the thousands of people executed each year with little public notice. But on Sept. 4, the New China News Agency, the government's news service, published a jailhouse interview with Mr. Wang that was astonishing for its content and for the mere fact that it was printed.

"I want to die," Mr. Wang said. "When I am dead, nobody can exploit me anymore. Right?"

Of his crime, Mr. Wang said, "I just could not take it any longer. I had taken enough from them." But, he later added, "I should not have killed the other people. I did not mean to let it happen."

Finally, he offered a lament for his fellow migrant workers. "My life is a small thing," he said. "I hope that society will pay attention and respect us."

Chinese journalists say the authors of the article picked the case because they thought it dovetailed with a campaign by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to help peasants. Newspapers, assuming the interview signaled official approval, jumped on the story.

Interviews with legal scholars followed, with some arguing that the system should be nimble enough to give Mr. Wang a more lenient sentence. Internet discussion boards were filled with indignation.

But the coverage was put to a sudden stop. Internet search engines were ordered to censor Wang Binyu's name, and newspapers were told to drop the story before the appeal was heard in late September. Most likely, the public outrage had alarmed central government officials who did not want to see a death sentence so openly questioned. From his jail cell, Wang Binyu told his younger brother that he thought local officials were eager to execute him, because a reversal of the death sentence could harm their careers.

The appeal was held in secret. Mr. Wang's father, Wang Liding, happened to bring his son a pair of shoes a day earlier. Otherwise, he would not have known. At one point, the father said that he shouted out during the proceeding because prosecutors said his son's wages had been fully paid. The elder Mr. Wang was briefly removed after the outburst.

Now, the family has still not collected the unpaid wages owed the dead son. Donations have helped them build a new room on their crumbling house. The father has wrapped the green booklet certifying his son's cremation in folded paper. It is his last record of his son.

In October, before the execution, court officials in Ningxia called the father with what he thought was good news. He was told he could come collect his son's unpaid salary. He traveled for more than a day to Ningxia from Gansu. But when he arrived, he found that the lure of wages had been a lie. Officials wanted him to sign his son's execution warrant.

Illiterate, the father could only smudge the paper with his thumb.

"It was wrong of him to kill people," the father said. "But there was a cause."

(完)

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留言(3条)

难怪要封闭纽约时报,老是报道咱们阴暗面,为什么不介绍下“科学发展观呢?”

死刑如果真是对抗腐败的工具,某些人就不会堂而皇之对着媒体讲自己在加国重获新生了。

我虽然觉得我国不是那么开放.但是这8篇确实不怎么样.
就说这一篇.故意杀人罪杀了4个人被判决死刑.这是法.我想基本上西方也会判终身或30+,
不管你有什么理由,你不可以杀人.他可以选择控告老板,如果当地法院不解决,可以去更上一层.
一直到中央. 我见过好多政府和个人私了的,就是给他多少钱 他不得再用这个事件不再上访.
我不是五毛,我只是觉得这几篇文章太狭隘了,中国也有钉子户让高速公路改道的.但是 民主 自由
不能达到西方的那种.如果是台湾省实行的民主政策,我选择狗带

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