Perseverance proved vital in helping reverse injustice

Updated: 2015-03-10 18:22

By Zhang Xiang(

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Perseverance proved vital in helping reverse injustice

Tang Ji, the reporter who helped restore the reputation of a wrongly executed man, in his office. [Photo/CFP]

Promoting rule of law is not always best left to the judiciary, at least not in the case of the wrongly-executed Hugjiltu.

Tang Ji, the 58-year-old Xinhua reporter behind the reverse of his conviction, did nine years' tireless and largely unappreciated work to help restore Hugjiltu’s reputation.

The 18-year-old Hugjiltu, from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, was sentenced to death for a rape and murder in the capital Hohhot in 1996. He was executed 62 days after being charged, despite doubts about the evidence against him.

Nine years after the execution, Zhao Zhihong, who had been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a series of rapes and killings, confessed to the murder.

Tang began investigating the Hugjiltu case, and wrote five special reports for the country's top leadership despite facing obstacles and threats from judicial departments and the courts.

In December last year, the conviction of Hugjiltu was overturned and his family compensated 2.05 million yuan ($335,000) by the state.

"The Hugjiltu case is the most important one of my entire career," said Tang. "Many people asked how I had the will to call for a retrial for nine years, and I would say it was my conscientiousness as a journalist and sympathy for the family that kept me going".

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