Apr 20, 2012 07:49 PM

Supreme Court Rejects Wu Ying Death Sentence


(Beijing) – The Supreme People's Court overturned Wu Ying's death sentence, adding another twist to the hotly debated issue linked to thinly regulated private lending businesses.

In an online statement on April 20, the Supreme Court overturned Wu's death sentence and required the Zhejiang Higher People's Court to review the case. It stated that Wu had been cooperative in confessing her crimes, including bribing officials.

Wu was convicted and sentenced to death in December 2009 on charges of fund-raising fraud. She was found guilty of raising a combined 390 million yuan from 11 people for fraudulent purposes between May 2005 and February 2007.

In January, the provincial court dismissed Wu's appeal, upholding a lower court's verdict and the death penalty. This prompted a formal death sentence review by the Supreme Court.

However, Wu had public sympathy on her side. Many argued that she was a scapegoat for the defects in China's formal lending network. Lawyers and scholars across the country pleaded for leniency, citing the potential impact on private lending systems, through which companies and individuals provide crucial, albeit risky and sometimes costly, financing for one another beyond the formal banking system.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in mid-March the case would be handled cautiously and based on facts, which was widely interpreted as a sign that the Supreme Court may overturn the capital punishment ruling. Such a reversal is rare in China.

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