Photos of the two-year-old girl and her one-year-old brother have been circulating on social media in Mandarin, smiling and innocent victims of a brutal horror that occurred at the end of 2020. The story had its formal closure today with the execution of Zhang Bo and Ye Chengchen, the young couple found guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced to death for throwing the two children from the fifteenth floor of a residential skyscraper in the Chongqing megalopolis, in a dramatic news case that in November 2020 created much indignation throughout China.
According to the reconstruction, fully accepted by the ruling of the Intermediate People’s Court No. 5 of the city with over 30 million inhabitants, the two were held responsible for the fatal fall. Zhang, the children’s father, had started a relationship with Ye, initially unaware that his partner was married with children.
And the children had been considered an obstacle to their marriage and their new life together. For this reason they decided to stage the “accidental” fall of the children, carrying out a crime in which their roles and influence had been assessed as “equivalent”, with the aggravating circumstance of planning the double murder which lasted 9 months. Therefore, the court had found that the motive was “despicable and the means of execution brutal” that it warranted exemplary punishment.
The death penalty, handed down in December 2021, was upheld on appeal two years later “as appropriate” by the Chongqing Higher People’s Court. And, finally, validated in the final instance by the Supreme People’s Court of Beijing with the green light “of legitimacy and appropriateness of the sentence” to be able to proceed with the execution.
Furthermore, the investigations revealed the existence of a divorce agreement reached in February 2020 between Zhang and his wife, cited only by the surname Chen: the child would be with her mother, while the child with his father until the completion of the 6 years, after which custody would be transferred to his ex-wife. Despite the agreed terms, Ye had pressured his partner, considering the children “a burden for their future life together”.
Hence the planning of the crazy gesture and its execution taking advantage of the mother’s absence, up to the “acted desperation of Zhang”, in tears and in pajamas next to the two little lifeless bodies. The children’s mother posted on her social media today that the court had informed her that her execution had taken place, assuring her that “she would comfort her children in heaven.”
The news closing the dramatic story came on the same day as another execution for another high-profile news case: that of Wu Xieyu, found guilty of killing his mother by hitting her several times with a dumbbell in 2015, according to a statement from a Fujian court, relaunched by local media.
China keeps secret data on death sentences carried out each year, although Amnesty International estimates that the Dragon is the leading executioner globally, with thousands of cases for crimes that often range from drug trafficking to corruption and murder, while the most common means of execution is lethal injection.