Airport bomber gets six years
Updated: 2013-10-16 01:06
By Hou Liqiang (China Daily)
Ji Zhongxing, who detonated a homemade explosive device at Beijing Capital International Airport in July to protest the handling of a dispute that he alleges left him confined to a wheelchair, leaves a Beijing court on Tuesday after being sentenced to six years in prison. GONG LEI / XINHUA
A man who set off a homemade bomb at Beijing Capital International Airport to protest the handling of a dispute that he alleges left him in a wheelchair was sentenced on Tuesday to six years in prison.
Ji Zhongxing, of Shandong province, was detained after his explosive device, which he made out of fireworks, went off outside the arrivals hall at Terminal 3 at 6:24 pm on July 20.
Ji lost his left hand in the blast, which also gave minor injuries to a police officer.
During his trial on Sept 17, the 33-year-old insisted the device exploded unexpectedly as he passed it from one hand to another, saying he was only trying to get the public's attention.
The court ruled Ji set off the explosion deliberately.
He "actively prepared before he came to Beijing" and "concealed the bomb to escape security checks", which shows the blast was "planned and premeditated", Chaoyang District People's Court said on Tuesday.
He was still holding the bomb when police came and showed no intent in avoiding an explosion, the court said.
Ji said he went to the airport to protest an unresolved dispute relating to an incident with two security guards in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in 2005 that he alleges put him in a wheelchair. Dongguan police said they are still investigating the incident.
Chaoyang District People's Court, however, said in its post that "citizens should safeguard their legal rights in a legal, rational and orderly manner".
"Nobody can infringe upon the lawful rights and interest of others or even adopt extreme ways to endanger public security in the name of defending rights," the court said.
According to the verdict, causing an explosion in the airport, a public area with large crowds of people, and the major threat to public safety created by taking an explosive through public transportation from Shandong province to Beijing were considered in Ji's penalty.
The court said it gave Ji a lighter sentence because he confessed to his crimes and also warned people at the airport to keep a safe distance from him before the explosion.
Ji said he has not decided if he will appeal. Liu Xiaoyuan, Ji's lawyer, said in a micro blog post that Ji's family members are not happy with the verdict and have asked Ji to file an appeal.
According to the criminal law, those who cause an explosion that results in no serious consequences should be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of no less than three years but no more than 10 years.
Wu Ming'an, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said the penalty is harsh for a paralyzed man who probably presents no further danger to society.
"While he didn't have any bad motives and had a good attitude in admitting his guilt, he also avoided injuring others," Wu said.
A sentence of house arrest under surveillance or a three-year imprisonment with a reprieve is enough for Ji, he said.