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Family kept Chinese man in cage for 11 years: report
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 27, 2013

China baby killer sentenced to death: Xinhua
Beijing (AFP) May 27, 2013 - A Chinese man has been sentenced to death for strangling a two-month-old baby after stealing a vehicle with the infant inside, in a case that caused widespread outrage, state media said Monday.

Zhou Xijun, 48, "was sentenced to death and deprived of his political rights for life" for the murder, the official news agency Xinhua said.

Zhou stole an SUV parked at a roadside in the northeastern province of Jilin in March, strangling the baby boy and leaving him in the snow after finding him on the back seat, the report said.

He turned himself a day after police and the public launched huge searches for him and the baby. The killing provoked both angst and anger among China's vast population of Internet users.

The parents had left the child alone in the car for 10 minutes with the engine running before realising the vehicle had been stolen, the state-run Global Times daily reported in March.

All death penalty verdicts are subject to a review by the supreme court. China executes around 4,000 people every year, a 50 percent drop since 2007, says the Duihua Foundation, a US human rights group.

A mentally ill Chinese man has been kept in a cage for more than a decade by his family after he beat a child to death, media reported Monday, carrying images of him staring blankly though the bars.

Wu Yuanhong, 42, was shown sitting on blankets in the narrow enclosure, his feet shackled with a heavy chain and wearing only a T-shirt and his underwear.

He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic at the age of 15 and in 2001 he beat a 13-year-old to death, the Information Daily newspaper said on its website.

Judicial authorities in Jiangxi province released him a year later as his illness meant he was not legally responsible for his actions, it said.

No independent confirmation of the circumstances was immediately available to AFP.

Wu was placed in shackles after his release, but his mother Wang Muxiang, built the cage after he escaped and walked around his home village of Shangfan scaring local residents, the report said.

Family members cried as they put him in the cage, the report added, but he escaped again and they were forced to build a stronger structure to hold him.

"My son may be insane, and beat someone to death, but he's still my son. To use my own hands to place him in a cage was very hard to take, like being stabbed with a knife," the paper quoted Wang as saying.

Wang gives her son three meals a day, placing a cloth over the cage and providing a pan when he needs the toilet.

"Every time I delivered food, I would sit at his cage and cry," she reportedly said, adding: "Now my tears are dried up."

Many mentally ill people in China go without proper treatment due to a lack of resources and qualified professionals, especially in the countryside.

The Ministry of Health said in 2010 that there were only about 20,000 psychiatrists to serve the country's population of 1.35 billion, the state-run China Daily reported.

Authorities estimated in 2009 that about 170 million people had some form of mental illness, while more than 16 million suffered from severe mental health problems.

The Information Daily quoted local officials as saying they had supported Wu's family with donations of oil and rice, adding Jiangxi had launched limited subsidies for poor families with mentally ill relatives.

An official at the police station in Nanyang, which covers Shangfan, told AFP he was not aware of the case.


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