A violent murder that has provoked wide public debate in China since it took place in Tokyo last year has reached a verdict. On Wednesday afternoon, Tokyo District Court sentenced the murderer, 26-year-old Chen Shifeng, to 20 years in prison.
The fatal incident happened in Tokyo on Nov. 2, 2016. Jiang Ge, a 24-year-old Chinese graduate student at Hosei University, was found dead after being stabbed outside the rented apartment she shared with Liu Xin, another young Chinese woman and her close friend. The police soon arrested Liu’s ex-boyfriend, Chen Shifeng, as the prime suspect. Surveillance footage showed Chen near the girls’ apartment, and he had earlier sent Liu a threatening email.
The trial started on Dec. 11 at Tokyo District Court. Though Chen’s defense lawyer argued that Chen did not intentionally kill Jiang, the prosecutor recommended a 20-year sentence based on seven criteria, including the cruelty of the act: Jiang was stabbed 12 times, according to The Paper, Sixth Tone’s sister publication. The prosecutor also pointed out that Chen had worn a mask and brought a change of clothes on the night of the murder, suggesting the crime was premeditated.
Chen was convicted of intentional murder and intimidation, and sentence to 20 years. Jiang’s mother had petitioned for months for Chen to get the death penalty — a rare sentence in Japan.
Debate around the case reignited last month, with much discussion centering on the roommate, Liu, rather than on the murderer, after a video showed her first meeting with the deceased’s mother, Jiang Qiulian. Many online comments judged Liu for her actions both on the night of the murder and afterward, with some calling her “cold-blooded” because she did not respond to the mother’s messages, while others accused her of not coming to her friend’s aid.
Editor: Qian Jinghua.
(Header image: People walk past the gate of a courthouse in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 11, 2017. VCG)