Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life imitates art: cruel murders in coal mines

This is the kind of thing that makes it hard to maintain a principled opposition to the death penalty.

Chinese police have arrested nine people suspected of trafficking mentally disabled people from Leibo County in southwest China' Sichuan Province to other areas and then murdering them in coal mines to blackmail the mine owners, police said Wednesday.

The rest of the story is here.

If you follow Chinese cinema, you'll think right away of Li Yang's (李杨) excellent movie Blind Shaft (盲井). Here's the Wikipedia plot summary:

Song Jinming (played by Li Yixiang) and Tang Zhaoyang (Wang Shuangbao) are professional con artists, running an intricate scam they have perfected through repeated practice. They find a naive young man looking for work, and convince him that they have arranged three lucrative coal mining jobs for themselves and a relative. The relative has not arrived in time, leaving a gap which they generously offer to the victim, on the condition that he pretend to be the missing relative. After a few days of working in the mine, they murder the victim, and by making the murder look like an accident, they use his death to extort compensation money from the mine's management.

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