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Petition for a Reduced Sentence for the Injured Worker Liu Hanghuang on Humanitarian Grounds

On 16 June 2009, Liu Hanghuang, a factory worker in Dongguan, fatally stabbed two of his Taiwanese employers and left a third critically injured. This is definitely an unbearable tragedy for both sides, especially an irreparable regret for the family of the Taiwanese businessmen.

However, based on the following reasons, we hope that the courts in China can take into consideration the extenuating circumstances.

As a migrant worker from the Province of Guizhou, Liu Hanhuang hoped to improve the economic conditions of his family, but unfortunately his hand was severed in an industrial accident. All hope was lost with a crippled body. Liu had tried to discuss the issue of compensation with his employers for a year without reaching agreement. It is fully understandable how a worker in a subordinate position, facing the much more powerful company and lacking necessary support, felt both helpless and hopeless.

The fact that Liu attempted suicide by threatening to jump from a fifth-floor ledge at the factory before the murder bears witness to his pressures and pains. It is of course illegal and unacceptable to commit homicide, but a sympathetic understanding is indeed possible if this case is placed in the context of “going off to work → occupational injury → prolonged negotiation of compensation → the subordinate position of the worker → the worker’s pressures and pains.”

Therefore, we hope the courts in China can take into account the extenuating circumstances.

We should emphasize that the transformation of the labor system over the past twenty years has had many negative effects for the working class. The case of Liu Hanhuang highlights the inhumane situation for workers who are injured on the job. The Chinese government should pay more attention and do something to improve this situation.

The Chinese government should not attach exclusive importance to economic investment and political interests. The working conditions of the vast majority of workers should not be sacrificed to promote a so-called favorable investment environment.

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