Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China
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Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China

Edited by Mike McConville and Eva Pils

Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China is an anthology of chapters on the contemporary criminal justice system in mainland China, bringing together the work of recognised scholars from China and around the world.
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Chapter 3: Wrongful convictions and tortured confessions: empirical studies in mainland China

He Jiahong and He Ran


In January 1994, Zhang Zaiyu, a woman from Yanmenkou Town in Hubei’s Jingshan County, disappeared. Her husband, She Xianglin, told friends and relatives that Zhang had left home after quarrelling with him over some trivial household matter, but many did not believe him, in particular Zhang’s mother. More than two-and-a-half months later, someone found a female corpse in a mountain pond and called the police. A forensic examination determined that the deceased had drowned after being struck on the head with a blunt instrument. Police inquiries at nearby villages found no one missing and, aware that Zhang Zaiyu had been missing for several months, police called in her relatives to identify the corpse. Although the corpse was in an advanced stage of decomposition, Zhang’s mother and older brother both positively identified it as Zhang, and police named She Xianglin the prime suspect.

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