Rulings on 9 officials linked to schoolyard burial upheld

( Updated : 2020-04-07

Huaihua Intermediate People's Court in Hunan province on Friday upheld the original rulings and sentences of nine former officials who were involved in a decadelong schoolyard burial case and were punished for duty-related crimes at the end of last year.

The court announced the decision via a remote system due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Rejecting the appeal of the nine people, it said that the original ruling was made based on sufficient evidence, with accurate application of the law, correct convictions, reasonable sentences and legal procedures.

On Dec 30, Huang Bingsong, a former headmaster of Xinghuang No 1 Middle School, and Yang Jun, a former political commissar of the public security bureau in Jingzhou Miao and Dong autonomous county, were sentenced to 15 years in prison for bending the law to shelter a killer more than a decade ago.

Another eight defendants were given sentences ranging from seven to 14 years in prison for bending the law and dereliction of duty by the county's court at the same time.

Later, nine of the defendants were unhappy with the rulings and appealed to a higher court.

The former officials' case linked back to a high-profile case 17 years ago. On Jan 22, 2003, Du Shaoping, along with Luo Guangzhong, killed Deng Shiping in an office at the construction site of a running track at the school, as Du was angry with Deng, who had been entrusted by the school with ensuring the quality of the construction.

That night Du and Luo buried Deng in a pit of the playground, and the next day, Luo ordered those driving forklifts to fill the pit up.

To help his nephew Du cover up the crime, Huang asked Yang to interfere in the investigation of the case, which resulted in Deng being listed as a missing person.

The case aroused public attention in April 2019, when Du was detained during a crackdown on a local crime gang and he confessed to killing Deng.

Two months later, police dug up bones buried on the campus that were identified as Deng's after a DNA test.

On Dec 18, 2019, Du was sentenced to death for multiple crimes, including intentional homicide, while Luo, who helped Du with the killing, was given a suspended death for the intentional homicide.

Du was executed on Jan 20 after the Supreme People's Court, the country's top court, approved his death penalty.