Fraudster blamed for student's death makes top court's 2017 list of influential cases

Updated 2018-02-01 16:12:01

The Supreme People's Court Of The People's Republic Of China (File Photo: China News Service/Li Huisi)

China's top court has published a list of 10 of the most influential judgments in 2017.

The list includes the life sentence given to a fraudster involved in the death of a student and the decision to reduce the punishment for a man who killed a debt collector in self-defense.

Chen Wenhui, 22, was the head of a telecom fraud gang in Shandong province that swindled more than 560,000 yuan (,000) between November 2015 and August 2016 by posing as educational, financial or real estate officials.

One of the victims was Xu Yuyu, an 18-year-old college-bound student, who died of cardiac arrest in August 2016 after being conned out of 9,900 yuan she had saved for her college tuition.

The case sparked outrage and led to authorities nationwide increasing efforts to tackle telecom and online fraud as well as improve privacy protection. Chen was sentenced to life in prison in July.

"Chen's verdict reflects the courts' determination to punish those who use stolen personal data to harm others," said Hu Yunteng, a senior judge with the Supreme People's Court.

The top court has also highlighted the case of Yu Huan, whose life sentence for intentional injury was reduced to five years by the Shandong High People's Court after he appealed on the basis of self-defense.

Yu stabbed four debt collectors with a knife in April 2016 while protecting himself and his mother. One of the men later died in the hospital.

The appeal hearing in May 2017 was broadcast online by the court.

"Yu's judgment increased public awareness of Chinese laws," Hu said. "It was a good legal lesson for residents, helping them understand the work of the courts and improving legal knowledge."

Besides the two high-profile rulings, the other judgments on the list represent efforts by Chinese courts to protect human rights, combat counterfeit goods and improve public-interest lawsuits.

The 10 rulings were selected from a list of 20 cases. During the selection process, the Supreme People's Court said it received feedback from a team of 35 legal professionals as well as collected more than 700,000 votes from netizens.

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