Opinion / Editorials

Truth reveals judicial holes

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-18 09:04

Many things change. But not truth.

That is why the same people who were praised and rewarded for having an innocent man convicted and executed in 1996 are now themselves under investigation.

That the injustice, which has been obvious throughout the judicial proceedings, has finally been ascertained, despite all the reluctance and resistance, offers some consolation. At least the innocent Huugjilt has eventually had his name cleared. And, if everything goes as it is supposed to, his family will receive compensation, and those found responsible for his death will pay a price that is long overdue.

Indeed, we know the magic of dialectics that everything bad has a positive aspect. But make no mistake about it: The judicial authorities are no heroes. They are not doing a favor to the poor parents of the victim. They are correcting a historical wrong of their own making.

The only heroes in this tragedy are the tenacious parents, who have never given up although their appeals were repeatedly stonewalled; and the journalist, whose persistence brought the case directly to the attention of the leaders in Beijing.

It is worth mentioning that today's fencemending is not an outcome of the local judiciary's own initiative. Had either the parents or the reporter given in, the innocent Huugjilt's name may have remained denigrated, forever.

If there is a lesson to learn here, it is about faith. The faith that truth will prevail sooner or later. And about courage. The courage to stand up against power.

In spite of all the complaints, the best thing about present-day China is the reassuring message it delivers: No abusive power can last forever.

Still, the frustrations Huugjilt's parents have been through indicate that getting justice is far more challenging than people want to believe.

Nobody knows what the outcome would have been had this case not attracted so much attention and stirred up so much public indignation.

Repeated reports of similar cases are evidence that there is something seriously wrong in Chinese judicial practice. The assumption of guilt is only one of the fundamental problems being fixed. Starting from there, even torture appears tolerable in criminal interrogations. And Huugjilt's self-contradictory confessions inspire reasonable suspicions that torture was used to force an admission of guilt to a crime he did not commit.

Without finding out the entire truth about this tragedy and having the judicial loopholes plugged, there is no way to prevent similar injustices in the future.

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