The death sentence initially imposed on a driver charged with killing four people and injuring five was officially lightened by an appeals court yesterday.
Sun Weiming, 30, who was found to be driving without a license and under the influence of alcohol above speed limits when the collision occurred last December, is now sentenced to life in prison.
The original sentence, delivered in July, was appealed after the families of the four victims reached a compensation agreement of RMB1 million with Sun this month and subsequently submitted a letter of forgiveness to the courts.
Zhang Zhiyu, whose parents were killed; Jin Yuhang, whose parents were also killed; and Han Changjin, who was severely injured, submitted the letter to the Jinjiang People's Court of Chengdu [last] Wednesday after agreeing to a 1 million yuan ($146,334) compensation deal. ...
"We think the court should take this into consideration during sentencing in the appeal," the letter read.
The judge is under no obligation to consider the letter.
Zhang said that Sun Xiaomei, Sun's sister, asked the three families to write that "we hope the court will give him a lenient sentence." He said they refused her request.
"It's impossible. We still hate Sun Weiming, and we considered this a long time before agreeing to the compensation deal," Zhang said.
The case was a landmark one in that it is believed to be the first in which the defendant received the death penalty for "endangering public security" by driving under the influence. Since that case, police nationwide have carried out orders to clamp down on drunk drivers.
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Swine flu watch
Of the 43 students who tested positive for the (A)H1N1 virus at the Sichuan Southwest College of Civil Aviation in Chengdu, all but 14 had been released as of Wednesday, and classes, all of which had been suspended, resumed.
In addition to the university cases, Sichuan News reported another 10 at a middle school in Le Shan on Sept. 4 and China Daily reports 15 newer cases in the province, nine at the Shuikou Township Middle School in Qionglai and six at the Chengdu University of Technology.
Death & crime
Residents of Chenghua District's Xinlongyuan Compound were given a shock when an explosion rumbled their building last Friday morning. The blast occurred after a man, upset over his wife's threats of divorce, filled his flat with gas and then ignited it, charring the interior and injuring himself. No other injuries were reported as a result of the explosion; however, at least 60 of the building's units were damaged, rendering a number of them uninhabitable. The building's tenants are now seeking compensation from the responsible party.
Local media has been abuzz with reports on the bar scams set up by the 9th Platform Café (9号站台咖啡馆). The scheme worked like this: women hired by the bar would lure new customers in by arranging "dates" with men they found online. Once at the bar, the women would order the most expensive items on the menu, leaving her date to take care of the bill.
A 37-year-old resident of Guanghan was struck and killed by lightning on Sunday, one of nearly a dozen such cases in Sichuan this year.
Two University of Colorado graduate students were killed by landslides during a hiking trip in Jiuzhaigou last week. The two 24-year-olds, one Chinese and one American, were both studying for doctoral degrees in physics.
Pengzhou official Liao Zhonglin (廖忠林) was detained by local police after hitting and killing one female sanitation worker and injuring another on Longyan Dadao (龙岩大道). He was found to be driving under the influence at the time of the collision.
A homemade wooden boat sank early Thursday morning in a river in Bazhong's Lancao (兰草) Town, Changping County, dumping the 28 passengers into the water. Four drowned, including a female middle-school student and a village officer.
An 8-year-old Chengdu boy who was kidnapped from outside his home three years ago has been reunited with his parents, but has forgotten how to speak the local dialect. Police found him in Fujian, where human traffickers have been known to operate.
Chengdu's first bus equipped with state-of-the-art fire-extinguishing equipment was on display to the public on Friday. The bus is said to be able to contain an internal fire in no more than 10 and completely extinguish it within 60 seconds.
While construction on the highly anticipated Sichuan-Tibet railway has been delayed, construction on six other railways in Sichuan will kick off this month. The railroads will cut travel time between Chengdu and Pengzhou, Lanzhou, Pujiang, Chongqing, Panzhihua, and Leshan. Finally, a high-speed train traveling up to 500 kmph will be put into trial operation next year, which is expected to cut travel time between Chengdu and Shanghai from the current 35 hours to a mere seven.
Ya'an bamboo sculpture artist Tang Hongchou displayed a series of books made out of bamboo last Thursday. The books, presumed to be the first of their kind to be made out of bamboo, include The Analects of Confucius and the Tao Te Ching. At 0.06 milimeters thick, the pages feel the same as "ordinary" paper. Tang also produced the first bamboo newspaper in 2007.
In an upset during the selection rounds for an upcoming art exhibition (庆祝新中国成立六十周年成都市美术作品展), a relative newcomer to the scene nabbed first prize. Newly graduated Sichuan University master's student Dai Shan's painting Duo Luo He 《朵洛荷》 beat out 25 other pieces, winning its creator a prize of 30,000 RMB. The exhibition will be held from Sept. 25 to 29 at the Sichuan Art Museum.
A policewoman stopped a suspicious-looking pregnant woman while patrolling Chengdu's railway station last Monday, only to find out "she" was actually a man attempting to smuggle a snake on board the train by wrapping it around his stomach. "One look at the person, and I knew there was something fishy. He was too strong and hairy to be a woman," the policewoman said.
Two university students called emergency hotline 119 to request firefighters remove a rat they had trapped on sticky paper in their apartment on Xinhong Lu on Sunday morning. More than 50 percent of QQ voters who read the story said, "These two students are just wasting public resources" while 19 percent said "What the heck? I've never even heard of something like this before."
On Tuesday, Wenjiang's Tang Zhiyuan (唐志渊) celebrated his 109th birthday with over 300 guests. His sons, who have grandchildren of their own, explained that regular living was the secret to their father's extraordinarily long life.
A Chengdu woman was ordered to pay RMB28,500 in compensation to her ex-husband after a DNA test proved that "their" 3-year-old daughter was fathered by another man. The couple married in 2004, had the child in 2006, and finally divorced this year.
—With research by Marvin Tan