Friday, 28 September 2012

Delayed Justice

Finally 10 years later, a Chinese family has received justice for the murder of their daughter.

Li Ang, 28, was convicted of murdering Amanda Zhao and sentenced to life in prison by a Beijing court on Thursday.

"Our worst nightmare began 10 years ago," Zhao's mother Yang Baoying wrote in a statement translated for the media. "Since that time, the road to justice has been long and difficult. During that time, we felt hopelessness and despair. Justice was beyond our reach... The verdict today means that the murderer cannot run from justice -- that justice will prevail, no matter how crafty you are. At the end, you will be punished."

Yang is referring to Li, 18 at the time, who reported Zhao missing on October 9, 2002. She was Ang's girlfriend and they lived together with Li's cousin in a Burnaby basement suite. Zhao was studying at a Coquitlam language school.

Eleven days later her body was found strangled and stuffed in a suitcase near Stave Lake.

But Li had fled back to China by the time charges were laid on him and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) got a bad rap for not preventing Li from leaving the country.

He was finally charged in Canada in May 2003 and in February 2004 the RCMP confirmed they had questioned Li in Beijing.

What took so long for Zhao's family to receive justice was not only because of the RCMP's bungling in handling the investigation, but also because Canada and China do not have an extradition treaty... perhaps because of Lai Changxing.

However with Lai having been sent back to China, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper suffered a blistering lecture from Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, seems like Sino-Canadian relations are getting back on track.

Which probably suggests that in the last year or so Zhao's case finally moved ahead with the verdict handed down Thursday.

Murder in China usually means the death sentence, but Li got life in prison, perhaps due to Canadian intervention.

Hopefully Zhao's family can now move forward knowing their daughter's killer will be repentant for the rest of his life behind bars.

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