Killer of Chinese graduate student in Japan sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment
The suspect in China’s most-debated criminal case over the past few months has been found guilty of intentionally murdering his ex-girlfriend’s roommate Jiang Ge by a Tokyo court on Wednesday, more than 400 days after the incident. 
 
The Tokyo District Court sentenced Chen Shifeng to 20 years in prison for intentional murder and intimidation. According to a Phoenix TV reporter who was at the court, Chen fainted when the judge announced the verdict. 
 
Jiang, 24 when she was killed on November 3 last year, was a Chinese graduate student at Hosei University. She was found dead with 11-12 wounds on her neck in the corridor of her apartment in Tokyo. Japanese police later confirmed Jiang was killed by Chen after the confirmation of a DNA match. 
 
Chen and his lawyer denied intentional murder and claimed that Jiang’s death was merely an accident as Jiang was the one who took the knife and he was only trying to protect himself from being hurt by Jiang. Chen also claimed that the knife was given to Jiang by Liu, who was then in the room, for her own protection. But police researchers showed that the same kind of knife used in the stabbing was missing from the school lab where Chen studied. The judge ruled that the probability of the defendant’s intention to kill was extremely high, and Chen had gone to Jiang’s apartment to kill Liu, but instead killed the innocent Jiang, according to Chinese media.
 
During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon in Tokyo, Jiang’s mother Jiang Qiulian who has been seeking death penalty for Chen, said she would not accept the verdict and was disappointed by the ruling. 
 
Jiang Qiulian has spent weeks collecting signatures for a petition for death penalty for Chen, and handed in a petition with more than 4.5 million signatures to the court in Tokyo on December 1, according to her microblog
 
The case captured nationwide attention in China in May this year after Jiang Qiulian who criticized Liu for purposely locking Jiang out when she was attacked, exposed personal information of Liu and her family on social media and asked netizens for help in tracing Liu down. She has criticized Liu for never explaining the details of Jiang Ge’s death to her, avoiding any contact with her and not even sending her condolences after the murder. 
 
According to Chinese media, on the afternoon of November 2, 2016, Chen went to Jiang’s apartment to look for Liu and the three had altercation before they left Jiang’s apartment. Later at night, Liu and Jiang went back to the apartment, but Liu went into the apartment first to change her pants stained by menstruation, while Jiang was behind Liu. Jiang failed to go inside her apartment before she was killed. In her testimony on December 13, Liu said she neither locked the door, nor passed the knife to Jiang. 
 
The case triggered a wave of ethical debate in China’s online community, with many netizens blaming Liu for being too “cold blooded” by leaving her friend in the hallway while she herself was being protected. Meanwhile, some also criticized Jiang Qiulian for revealing the personal information of Liu and Liu’s family. 
 
During the trial, which started on December 11 in Tokyo, the Japanese prosecutor recommended a 20-year imprisonment based on seven criteria including the cruelty of Chen’s act, strong murder intention, intimidation and harassment, severity of consequence, planning of the murder, intention to kill Liu, as well as showing no introspection during the trial, according to Phoenix TV.
 
Under the hashtag “Chinese Student Killed in Japan” on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, which has been viewed for 670 million times as of Wednesday, many users said that 20 years in prison is too little for Chen who committed such a crime, while some others said although the outcome was not that satisfactory, the Japanese prosecutors and court have done their best to defend justice.

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