Lucky trucker granted a retrial

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.”

Lucky trucker granted a retrial