Conflict & Justice

Death row appeal in China

This woman is meeting a small group of journalists. Time is of the essence she tells the foreign reporters because the Supreme Court could be reviewing her father's case in a few days. If the verdict isn't turned, punishment is swift and they don't have to tell the family. In China it is extremely rare for such public campaigns to be aired, even if they have a fair grievance. Families on death row is a huge stigma and the fight against it usually doesn't happen. The risks are lower for the daughter who has an Austrian passport. She decided to go public after meeting with a human rights federation officer. He says this is the first public test case of the year-old death sentence oversight system. Last year China's Supreme Court says it rejected 15% of the death sentence cases it reviewed. The officer says the case is quite vague, mostly because the case involves state secrets. The most serious charge is providing technical drawings for missile equipment to a Taiwanese spy ring. There is no evidence of a handover and the evidence is mainly circumstantial and the daughter worries her father's confessions were coerced. This human rights activist is mildly optimistic that the review will work. The daughter has not talked to her father in years. but he did send a message to her, that he's not afraid of dying and that he's happy it would give his family a new beginning. Shortly after that, the daughter decided to meet with journalists and explain her efforts to go forward. She says it's her duty to go forward with her efforts.