Subsequent Cases Referencing the Guiding Case
Full Text of the Guiding Case
Main Points of the Adjudication
In an intentional homicide case, brought about by a heated marital or love conflict, in which the defendant commits the crime in a cruel fashion; the guilt of the defendant is of such a nature that the death penalty should be imposed; the defendant, however, has mitigating factors such as that he frankly repents and actively seeks to provide compensation; and, at the same time, the victim’s family requests that stern punishment be meted out; the people’s court may, based upon the nature of the case, the circumstances of the crime, the harm occasioned, the subjective malice exhibited by the defendant, and the dangerousness of the defendant, sentence the defendant to death with a two-year suspension of execution and also decide to restrict the commutation of sentence in accordance with law, so as to effectively resolve social conflicts and promote social harmony.
Related Legal Rule(s)
Article 50, Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China
Basic Facts of the Case
The defendant, WANG Zhicai (王志才), and the victim, a certain Ms. ZHAO (赵某某) (female, aged 26 at time of death), became romantically involved when they were schoolmates at Shandong Vocational College of Science & Technology in Weifang Municipality, Shandong Province. In 2005, after graduation, WANG Zhicai entered the workforce. Ms. ZHAO passed the entrance examination to enroll in Qufu Normal University of Shandong Province, where she pursued post–vocational-school undergraduate studies. In 2007, after Ms. ZHAO had graduated and entered the workforce, WANG Zhicai and Ms. ZHAO discussed marriage, but because her family disagreed, Ms. ZHAO suggested multiple times that they break up. Nevertheless, owing to WANG Zhicai’s insistence, the two continued staying in touch.
At noon on October 9, 2008, WANG Zhicai was once again discussing the marriage issue in Ms. ZHAO’s dormitory. Because Ms. ZHAO explicitly expressed to him that the two of them could never be together, WANG Zhicai felt despair. Enraged, WANG Zhicai became possessed of the idea that he would kill Ms. ZHAO and then commit suicide. Forthwith, he took a sharp single-edged knife located in Ms. ZHAO’s dormitory and repeatedly stabbed Ms. ZHAO in the neck, chest, abdomen, and back, causing her to die of hemorrhagic shock. The next morning at around 8:30, WANG Zhicai ingested some pesticide in a failed suicide attempt. He was subsequently apprehended by the public security authorities. WANG Zhicai usually behaved relatively well. After he was apprehended, he gave a true account of his crimes and, together with his family, actively sought to provide compensation; however, he did not reach a compensation agreement with the victim’s family.
Results of the Adjudication
On October 14, 2009, the Intermediate People’s Court of Weifang Municipality, Shandong Province, by the (2009) Wei Xing Yi Chu Zi No. 35 Criminal Judgment, determined that defendant WANG Zhicai was guilty of intentional homicide, and he was therefore sentenced to death and deprived of his political rights for life. After the judgment was pronounced, WANG Zhicai appealed.
On June 18, 2010, the Higher People’s Court of Shandong Province, by the (2010) Lu Xing Si Zhong Zi No.2 Criminal Ruling, rejected the appeal, upheld the original judgment, and reported to the Supreme People’s Court for authorization in accordance with law. Based on the facts confirmed in the review procedure, the Supreme People’s Court, by the (2010) Xing San Fu No. 22651920 Criminal Ruling, did not authorize the death penalty of defendant WANG Zhicai and remanded the case to the Higher People’s Court of Shandong Province for retrial. The Higher People’s Court of Shandong Province retried the case in accordance with law, and on May 3, 2011, it rendered the (2010) Lu Xing Si Zhong Zi No. 2-1 Criminal Judgment. For intentional homicide, defendant WANG Zhicai’s sentence was amended to death with a two-year suspension of execution and deprivation of his political rights for life. At the same time, the Court decided to restrict the commutation of his sentence.
Reasons for the Adjudication
After the retrial, the Higher People’s Court of Shandong Province opined: Defendant WANG Zhicai’s acts constituted intentional homicide. These acts were extremely seriously criminal, and the guilt of the defendant was of such a nature that the death penalty should be imposed. Given that this case was brought about by a marital or love dispute, in which WANG Zhicai failed in his marriage proposal and conceived of the idea to kill in a state of rage; that he frankly repented and actively sought to provide compensation for the victim side’s economic losses after he was apprehended; and, moreover, that he usually behaved relatively well; [consequently] WANG Zhicai was sentenced to the death penalty, which would not be immediately administered. At the same time, considering that WANG Zhicai committed intentional homicide in an extremely cruel fashion and that the victim’s family refused to forgive him, requesting that stern punishment be meted out in accordance with law, the Court, in order to effectively resolve social conflicts and in accordance with such provisions as Article 50, Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, sentenced defendant WANG Zhicai to death with a two-year suspension of execution and also decided to restrict the commutation of his sentence.
* The citation of this translation of the Guiding Case is: 《王志才故意杀人案》(WANG Zhicai, An Intentional Homicide Case), China Guiding Cases Project, English Guiding Case (EGC4), Jan. 9, 2012 Edition, available at https://cgc.law.stanford.edu/guiding-cases/guiding-case-4.
This document was primarily prepared by Joseph Casey and Christine Qingyu Liu. The document was finalized by Jennifer Ingram and Dr. Mei Gechlik. Minor editing, such as splitting long paragraphs, adding a few words included in square brackets, and boldfacing the headings to correspond with those boldfaced in the original Chinese version, was done to make the piece more comprehensible to readers. The following text, otherwise, is a direct translation of the original text and reflects formatting of the Chinese document released by the Supreme People’s Court.
The following Guiding Case was discussed and passed by the Adjudication Committee of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China and was released on December 20, 2011, available at http://old.chinacourt.org/public/detail.php?id=472161. See also 《最高人民法院关于发布第一批指导性案例的通知》 (The Supreme People’s Court’s Notice Concerning the Release of the First Batch of Guiding Cases), Dec. 20, 2011, available at http://old.chinacourt.org/html/article/201112/21/472164.shtml.