A remarried bank clerk in northern China has been sentenced to death for hiring a hit man to strangle her son so she could have a child with her new husband and avoid violating population-control policies.
The sentence was handed down recently by Shaanxi Higher People's Court, overturning a lower court ruling that gave the defendant the possibility of serving only a life sentence, the Chinese Business View newspaper reported yesterday.
The defendant was identified as Li Yingfang, 36, who used to work in a branch of the Agricultural Bank of China in Chengcheng County, Shaanxi Province.
In 1997, Li gave birth to a son, Cao Yifan, while married to a man named Cao Yajun.
Li's husband died in 2002, and she signed an agreement with his mother to take custody of the child. Under the agreement, Li had the right to visit her son and to care for him for short periods.
In 2004, Li married a man surnamed Hou. She became pregnant twice but had abortions both times because Hou's ex-wife told authorities about the couple's violation of the provincial "one-child" policy. Remarried couples in Shaanxi are not allowed to bear children if both parties already have a child.
Hou has a daughter from a previous marriage, the report said.
Li then paid 70,000 yuan (US$10,238) to hire a person named Wang Ruijie to kill Hou's daughter, the court said.
Wang attacked the girl on November 23, 2006, but she put up a fight and caused Wang to flee, authorities said.
Li then decided to kill her own son to resolve the family conflict, authorities said.
She prepared a strip of cloth and took her son with her to a meeting with Wang, who had rented a car. The hit man drove into the country and strangled the boy, leaving his body on the roadside, according to the court.
Li and Wang were detained by police a few days later. The Weinan Intermediate People's Court sentenced Li to death with a two-year reprieve in 2007 after it found she suffered depression and other emotional trauma after her second abortion.
Wang was also sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. The reprieve usually means the sentence will be commuted to life in prison if the defendant behaves properly during the reprieve period.
The mother and hit man were also ordered to pay Cao Yifan's grandmother 45,000 yuan in compensation.
Prosecutors protested and demanded that the death sentence be carried out for both defendants.
The Shaanxi Higher People's Court found that Li's depression was not directly relevant to the crime and sentenced her to death. The court upheld Wang's sentence but increased the compensation to 65,000 yuan.
(Shanghai Daily January 16, 2009)