Wrongfully jailed man gets more compensation for his mental anguish

(China Daily)     Updated : 2021-04-29

China's top court on Tuesday granted 520,000 yuan ($80,200) more in compensation for mental anguish to a man who was wrongfully jailed for more than 15 years.

Wu Chunhong, a villager from Henan province who had his name cleared in April last year after evidence related to his intentional homicide conviction was deemed insufficient, originally received state compensation of 2.62 million yuan on Aug 6.

The compensation, made by the Henan High People's Court, included 1.9 million yuan for Wu's wrongful detention for more than 15 years and 680,000 yuan for his mental anguish.

Wu, 51, was unhappy with that result, "as it was too low to afford my client's difficulties in life after the acquittal," said Li Changqing, Wu's lawyer, who appealed to the Supreme People's Court.

According to the top court's decision on Tuesday, the mental anguish compensation for Wu has been raised to 1.2 million yuan, and the total amount of state compensation now is 3.14 million.

It was reportedly the first case in which a person's mental anguish compensation was increased after the top court issued a judicial interpretation in March adjusting such figures.

Previously, compensation for mental anguish was not supposed to exceed 35 percent of the compensation a person received for having his or her personal liberty undermined, but the interpretation raised that cap to 50 percent.

It also listed a few "extremely serious" conditions that could see people whose personal rights are damaged obtain more than 50 percent of their compensation for mental anguish-for instance, people wrongfully detained for more than 10 years. The top court said in March that the adjustment aimed to uphold justice and further protect human rights.

Thanks to the interpretation, the percentage of the compensation for mental anguish Wu received was raised to 62 percent from about 35 percent last year.

"I'm happy with the increased compensation," thecover.cn, a news outlet based in Sichuan province, quoted Wu as saying. He added that he is planning to renovate his house and seek a job.

Wu's case started in 2004 when a 3-year-old boy in Zhougang village, Shangqiu, Henan, died after eating homemade food containing poisoned flour. His elder brother fell ill and was admitted to hospital but recovered.

Wu, who lived in the same village, was named as the suspect in the child's death and was detained about a week later.

In 2005, he was given a suspended death sentence for intentional homicide. After frequent appeals from his family, the top court ordered the Henan high court to rehear the case in 2018 due to insufficient evidence.