In case you needed more evidence of the power of Internet public opinion in China, the Henan trucker we wrote about who was given a life sentence for evading over a half-million US dollars in road tolls has been granted a retrial after netizen outrage over the sentence, according to the China Daily.
BEIJING – A man sentenced to life in prison for evading road tolls has been granted a retrial, judicial authorities said on Friday, after the severity of the sentence caused a huge online outcry.
Shi Jianfeng, a self-employed driver in Yuzhou of Central China’s Henan province, was sentenced on Dec 21, after being found guilty of using a fabricated military driving license and fake military plates on his trucks to evade tolls totaling 3.68 million yuan ($558,000).
But the Pingdingshan Intermediate People’s Court, which sentenced Shi, said in a statement on Friday that as the case had “triggered the media’s attention and heated debate”, authorities had subsequently questioned Shi again.
Shi now claimed to have been manipulated by a relative, and as this “new evidence” might have changed the outcome of the case, the court had decided to hold a retrial, said Liu Penghua, director of the political department of the court on Friday.
The case, the China Daily piece concludes, “highlights the growing power of Web users in China.”