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Monday, January 31, 2011

Weird news - Chinese man originally sentenced to life for evading tolls, overturned after protests

China has a judiciary that is under the control of the ruling Communist party, and this can result in a number of cases where the sentencing can seem very strange. So, for example, when somebody is corrupt and is convicted of corruption, they can even be given a death sentence and the sentence has been carried out in the past. In other cases, people who protest against corruption and other malpractices can be convicted of acting against order and sentenced.
At the same time, the spread of modern technology has enabled the airing of views even in a society such as China where the articulation of dissent can be very quickly shut down. So, when a person was convicted and sentenced for a life sentence for evading tolls, it seemed so weird (especially when Chinese citizens claimed that people committing serious crimes were being sentenced for lower sentences, and also that tolls were very high) (link to article):

A Chinese farmer and gravel dealer who was sentenced to life in prison for evading more than $560,000 in highway cargo tolls by using fake military license plates has now avoided the harsh punishment as well.
After a public outcry about what was deemed harsh treatment of Shi Jianfeng and widespread grumpiness over high tolls in general, state media said Wednesday that authorities have overturned Shi's life sentence.
Shi was sentenced last week for fraud. Fake military license plates on two of his trucks that carried gravel allowed them to avoid tolls more than 2,300 times because military vehicles are exempt.

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