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December 3, 2009

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Court asked to show mercy in murder case

MORE than 20,000 people in north China's Shanxi Province signed a petition requesting lenient punishment for a 19-year-old man who is suspected of stabbing a village official to death, China Youth Daily reported yesterday.

Zhang Xuping admitted in a court hearing in Shanxi's Luliang City last Thursday that he stabbed Xiashuixi Village's Party chief Li Shiming in his chest on September 23, 2008. Li died in his luxury sports utility vehicle as he was driven to the hospital.

Prosecutors said the stabbing was planned by Zhang Xuping, Zhang Huping and Li Yanxin. All of them allegedly harbored strong grievances against Li Shiming.

The Zhangs, who are not related, were arrested on November 5, 2008, while Li Yanxin, no relation to Li Shiming, was taken into custody on March 9.

Zhang Xuping's mother, Wang Hou'e, had served a one-year jail term after complaining to higher authorities with 20 others that Li Shiming illegally sold farmland and destroyed forests for real estate projects. He reportedly earned illegal profits from all such deals.

Zhang Huping was one of the 20 who complained about the Party chief. He was once detained four months for vandalism and after being released was given a suspended one-year sentence for a street fight with one of Li Shiming's henchmen, the report said.

Li Shiming and his henchmen often beat up villagers who didn't listen to him, according to the newspaper.


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