March 19, 2009 / 8:06 AM / 10 years ago

China girl wants father who murdered mother spared

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - The 10-year-old daughter of a Chinese man who killed his wife with a hammer has appealed to the court to commute his death sentence in a case that has divided public opinion across China.

Wang Junbao, a 36-year-old village doctor from central Henan province, killed his 31-year-old wife, Feng Li, in March 2007 when a trivial quarrel turned violent, state media said on Thursday. He was sentenced to death in December 2007.

His daughter, Jin Jin, had written to the Supreme People’s Court which is handling the final review, suggesting the death sentence be commuted to “death penalty with two-year reprieve,” the China Daily said, which in effect means life in jail on condition of good behavior.

“I have lost my mother and I cannot afford to lose my father,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t want to become an orphan.”

An online survey by major information portal showed nearly 64 percent of the 23,781 people polled were sympathetic to the girl and hoped the death sentence would be quashed.

Another 31 percent disagreed and said that those who killed people should pay for the murders with their own lives.

“Wang committed an unpardonable crime,” lawyer Zhao Xiaolu was quoted as saying. “If he doesn’t receive capital punishment, there will be even more harm done to society. We cannot sacrifice justice and equality for mercy.”

China does not disclose the number of people it executes, but Western human rights groups say the number is higher than any other country.

Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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