Struggling to adapt after wrongful conviction

Updated: 2014-09-09 07:09

By Cao Yin(China Daily USA)

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In December 2002, Zhao Zuohai was convicted of murder and sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by Shangqiu Intermediate People's Court in Henan province.

But after close to eight years in prison, the native of Henan province was released when his "murder victim" showed up alive.

Following his acquittal in 2010, six former police officers were arrested for allegedly torturing Zhao into confessing to a crime that never occurred. All six were convicted and five of them were given prison terms in August 2012.

The 61-year-old Zhao received 650,000 yuan ($103,000) in compensation. He was later given a job as a cleaner in Shangqiu, earning 1,000 yuan a month.

But Li Sulan, Zhao's wife, said the money made them feel isolated and people still looked down on her husband.

"Our children took some of the money and left us, while some villagers remain biased against my husband and often talk behind his back," said Li, 60.

Zhao takes almost an hour to get to his workplace from home. In Li's eyes, his work is not easy.

"He suffers from serious hypertension and I also worry about his safety when he is cleaning the streets that are full of vehicles," Li said.

"Sometimes, I help him pick up the trash on the streets once I finish my household chores."

The couple shun attention following Zhao's acquittal and seldom go online to avoid any information about it, Li said.

"I heard about Nian Bin's case from my neighbor. Sometimes I'd like to help those who have similar experiences as my husband because I understand what they are going through.

"But I also want a quiet life."

(China Daily USA 09/09/2014 page6)