China is awash in “judicial malpractice,” said Beijing’s Xin Jing Bao in an editorial. The case of She Xianglin, wrongfully convicted of murder, has exposed all manner of evils in our courts, from the “extortion of confessions by torture” to the “threatening of witnesses.” She Xianglin confessed in 1994 to the murder of his wife. He had served 11 years of his 15-year sentence when, last month, the wife showed up alive. She had simply left him and moved to another province to remarry. With She Xianglin now a free man, he has revealed how the police, eager to get a conviction, tortured his confession out of him. He can never get back the years that were robbed from him, and he can never again see the mother who died while he was in prison. But perhaps he can bequeath to the rest of us a reformed justice system. Already, an appeals court has ruled that coerced confessions are, henceforward, inadmissible. That is an excellent start. For too long, injustice in the criminal system has “hindered the progress of China’s rule of law.”
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