The murder was well known for the murder of two children. Zhang Yuhuan was found to be the murderer and sentenced to a suspended death sentence. In the tearing of hope and despair, Zhang Yuhuan survived for nearly 27 years inside the high wall. What unjust prison robbed is not only a hard to find life, but also his love, family affection and dream.
After clearing away her grievances, Zhang Yuhuan is confronted with a broken family, a lost life of nearly 27 years and a hard to restart future.
27 years later, go home
A few days before the sentencing of the Zhang Yuhuan case, the local judicial authorities found Zhang Minqiang, Zhang Yuhuans brother, to discuss the way and route for Zhang Yuhuan to go home. Zhang Minqiang has clearly expressed his familys idea: the younger brother cant go home in the car sent by the judicial organ.
In Zhang Minqiangs opinion, if Zhang Yuhuan is acquitted, he cant take the car of the judicial organ. He is not released on bail, nor is he released after serving his sentence. He is a free man. He arranged for his car to wait in Jiangxi Provincial High Court in advance, ready to pick up Zhang Yuhuan home.
Zhang Minqiang was not surprised by the verdict. To his surprise, Zhang Yuhuan did not appear in the Jiangxi Provincial High Court, but participated in the court session through video link in prison. The courts explanation to Zhang Yuhuans family members was the cause of the epidemic.
Zhang Yuhuan put on her sisters new striped polo shirt and trousers. He is not tall and wears a big red flower on his chest. When he doesnt speak, his eyes often look around him. As a result of tension, his fingers unconsciously grasped the big red flower and kneaded it.
Knowing that his brother was on his way back to Jinxian, Zhang Minqiang also went to Jinxian county. He was the first family member Zhang Yuhuan met after he was released from prison. At the moment of meeting, Zhang Minqiang suddenly didnt know how to express his feelings accumulated for many years. He just said, just come out and live a good life. Zhang Yuhuan didnt say anything. Two men in their 50s held hands together and began to cry bitterly.
Out of the hotel, Zhang Yuhuan got into his familys car, followed by a car and an ambulance. When the motorcade appeared at the entrance of the village, a long string of firecrackers went off, and the motorcade drove into Zhangjia village.
The news of Zhang Yuhuans return home caused a great sensation in the village. That evening, almost all the villagers who stayed in the village came to the door of Zhang Yuhuans house, but did not get close to it. The village has not been so lively for a long time, said one villager.
The motorcade finally stopped at the gate of Zhang Yuhuans home. Zhang Yuhuans mother Zhang binglian, ex-wife song xiaonu, Zhang Yuhuans younger sister and other family members had already been waiting at the door. Zhang Yuhuan wore a big red flower on his chest. As soon as he got out of the car, he recognized his mother. He held Zhang binglian and his sister in his arms, and they were all crying. Song xiaonu also followed her with tears.
The scene of the meeting was once chaotic. Zhang Yuhuan, his mother, Zhang binglian, and his sister walked into the house with tears in their arms. Other relatives and villagers were also around. At this time, song Xiaonv is too excited, hypertension, dizziness, foot a soft paralysis, sitting on the floor in front of the house.
Zhang Yuhuan was still walking into the room surrounded by the crowd. Zhang Yuhuan didnt notice the abnormality and didnt look back. Zhang Baoren, Zhang Yuhuans eldest son, saw this scene, and his emotion broke out in an instant. He yelled at Zhang Yuhuan and said, do you still have three mothers and children in your heart? he cried and pushed his father.
At night, the moon was big and round over the small village. It was not until about 9 p.m. that Zhang Yuhuan and his family had their first dinner after their freedom, a bowl of dumplings and golden cake. After dinner, Zhang Jia left a big picture of different people - song xiaonu and her eldest son are still in the hospital.
Burden of village doctors
On the afternoon of Zhang Yuhuans return home, in Wuhan City, more than 400 kilometers away from Zhangjia village, Zhang Youling, a village doctor in zhangyuhuan village, has been paying close attention to Zhang Yuhuans news with her mobile phone.
On July 9 this year, when the Jiangxi Provincial High Court held a retrial of the Zhang Yuhuan case, Zhang Youling went to the Jiangxi Provincial High Court. She thought that Zhang Yuhuan would be acquitted in court that day, but the court announced that she would be sentenced on another day. At the time of the real sentence, he failed to go to Nanchang to watch Zhang Yuhuans acquittal.
Knowing that Zhang Yuhuan has been acquitted, Zhang Youling feels that the burden that has been buried in her heart for more than ten years can finally be put down. The case of Zhang Yuhuan was caused by me. If I had not advised the family members of the murdered child to report the case, there would have been no injustice in the past 27 years. I have always kept this matter in my mind. Zhang Youling said to the interface news.
In recent years, Zhang Youling often recalled that day in 1993. At noon, he heard that the bodies of two children missing in the village were found in Xiamatang reservoir, so she rode her bicycle there. When he saw the bodies of the two children, their families were ready to bury them.
Zhang Youling saw obvious strangulation marks on both sides of the childs cheek, points as big as thumb, and signs of congestion in many places. One of the children had finger marks on his neck, no mud in his mouth and no water in his abdominal cavity.
He told the family members of the victim that it was a murder and asked the family members to report the case immediately. The murder case was thus torn open. The murder case caused a sensation in Zhangjia village at that time. The police blocked the village and investigated the villagers one by one. The villagers were panicked.
In 2002, Zhang Youling went to the prison to visit a prisoner, and said to Zhang Youling, there is a man named Zhang Yuhuan in your village. He is unjust in prison every day. He commits suicide and makes trouble. Everyone is disturbed and hates him. At this time, Zhang Youling began to know that Zhang Yuhuan was wronged in prison.
Over the years, Zhang Minqiang and Zhang Yuhuan have sent thousands of letters of complaint. Photo source: Liang Zhou / photo
In 2017, Zhang Youling couldnt help but talk about the case with a reporter who had a close relationship with her. The reporter provided him with the contact information of two lawyers, one named Wang Fei and the other named Shang Manqing. Zhang Youling also found Zhang Minqiang and told him the story.
There may be 1000 letters of complaint sent by Zhang Yuhuan and I. in 2008, we received a reply from the Supreme Peoples Procuratorate, saying that our letter has been received and transferred to Jiangxi Provincial High Court for handling. We were happy for a long time, and later the case also stagnated. Zhang Minqiang said.
In January 2017, Wang Fei received information about the Zhang Yuhuan case from a Jiangxi reporter, and he began to pay attention to the case. After reading the verdict, Wang Fei felt that the case was very problematic and the evidence was seriously inadequate. The facts of the crime identified in the judgment were also very suspicious, which was not consistent with common sense in terms of criminal motive.
A long complaint
At the beginning, Wang Fei did not decide whether to represent Zhang Yuhuan in the case. It was not until March 2017, when he met Zhang Minqiang in Nanchang and learned about the situation before and after the case, that he decided to represent the case.
Wang Fei went to the prison to meet Zhang Yuhuan. Through face-to-face chat with Zhang Yuhuan, he observed his words. Zhang Yuhuan stated that he did not kill people. Wang Fei asked him to swear, and he did not hesitate to swear. The attitude is sincere at least, Wang Fei said. Later, Zhang Yuhuan told him about the process of extorting a confession by torture. Finally, he could not bear to make a guilty confession.
After this meeting, Wang Fei formed a judgment in his heart: Im afraid there is injustice in this case.
In 2001, before the retrial of Zhang Yuhuan case, the court appointed Deng Xiaobin as Zhang Yuhuans legal aid lawyer, and he was also the first lawyer to defend Zhang Yuhuans innocence. Deng Xiaobin told interface news that he had seen traces of torture on Zhang Yuhuan and was deeply impressed by the scars on Zhang Yuhuan.
The scars are water droplets, and they are arranged side by side. At that time, Deng Xiaobin once proposed to the court whether the scar on Zhang Yuhuan was caused by wolf dog or torture, but there was no result later.
In the process of accepting the case, Wang Fei found that there were more and more doubtful places, and all the material evidence could not point to Zhang Yuhuan. For example, the hemp rope of the murder weapon could not prove that there was contact with the victims child. The fiber on the sack and the fiber extracted from Zhang Yuhuans overalls belonged to jute fiber, but they were not enough to reach the identification of identity and could not prove that the sack was a crime tool. Zhang Yuhuans skin tissue could not be extracted from the nail of the killed child.
In fact, in the retrial court 19 years ago, Deng Xiaobin defended Zhang Yuhuans innocence and raised the above-mentioned doubts. At that time, the court did not accept his defense opinions.
Zhang Yuhuan was acquitted and returned home, talking about the process of extorting a confession by torture, is still emotional. He clearly remembers that when the investigators extorted confessions by torture, they forced him for six days and six nights. He was hanged to fight, and they also let wolf dogs bite him.
Before and after two wolf dogs, a dog is biting me. Zhang Yuhuan shows the scars on his hands and thighs to people around him from time to time. More than 20 years have passed, but the scars are still visible.
After the news of Zhang Yuhuans innocence was reported by the media, two of his former prison friends also came to Zhangjia village from Jinxian county. One of them, a prisoner named Tao, who had been eating and living with Zhang Yuhuan for three years, came into the house. Zhang Yuhuan recognized him at a glance and was too excited to speak.
Taos prison friend still remembers that when he was in the detention center in those years, Zhang Yuhuan would kneel on the ground and kowtow when he saw someone coming to inspect him, saying that he was innocent. He knocked his head red and swollen. His head hit the flat floor, and the sound was very loud. He often saw Zhang Yuhuan cover his head with a quilt and cry in the middle of the night, he told the interface news. When taking a bath, he could also see that Zhang Yuhuan lacked a piece of meat on his thigh, which was bitten by a wolf dog..
On the day when Zhang Yuhuan just returned home, he was accompanied by village and town cadres. Some people once asked him if he was responsible. He just said, its all over.. Later, Zhang Yuhuan changed his mind and clearly proposed that the criminal responsibility of extorting a confession by torture should be investigated. I went in from a young man, and now Im an old man. They have ruined my family. I dont accept their apology.
Zhang Yuhuan has been wronged for nearly 27 years. Over the past ten years, Zhang Youling is often in contradiction with Zhang Yuhuan. If I had been a minute or two late and the child had been buried, it might never have happened, but the two children who died unjustly would have died unjustly. I uncovered the case and Zhang Yuhuan was arrested, but he was innocent again.
Zhang Youling thought for a moment and said that she did not regret it. Anyone with a conscience would do the same if she saw the murder of a child. Since the retrial of the Zhang Yuhuan case, many people have called Zhang Youling and said that he was going to get the murderer out. Every time he explained that he had no ability, everything was handled according to legal procedures.
If you say that Zhang Yuhuan killed a person, (as long as) you have definite evidence, you can continue to report to the case handling organ. If he is released, he can also be arrested. Zhang Youling said to these people.
Families shattered by unjust prison
For more than 20 years, no three brothers have ever laid a grave for you at the same time. Every year after that, the three brothers will do it for you. Zhang Minqiang couldnt help but cry.
At noon, Zhang Baoren, the eldest son of Zhang Yuhuan, returned to Zhangjia village with his mother. The family had a reunion dinner. After lunch, Zhang Yuhuan took the eldest sons hands and sat on the threshold of the old house. The father and the son talked for a long time. After chatting, Zhang Baorens face became much more relaxed.
Zhang Baogang, the second son, also tried to reconcile the gap between his brother and his father. The father said that a reunion meal would not be a reunion meal without a brother. He called his brother and he came back.
Zhang Yuhuan was unfamiliar with everything his son said. When he was still in prison, in order to make Zhang Yuhuan feel more relieved, every time his family went to visit him, he reported the good news but not the bad news. When he heard the story of his little son, he found that he did not know the family for the past 27 years.
Zhang Baogang also talked about his brothers past with his father. He told his father that his brother was angry at the first night because there were too many people at that time. They all crowded to his fathers room. His father didnt notice that his mother fell down and didnt protect her. He felt very sad, maybe he thought about his childhood experience..
The past events have been buried in Zhang Baorens heart for many years. He almost never talks about these things to outsiders. Even his mother, song xiaonu, is not clear about them.
When song xiaonus brother saw that her sister and child were not taken care of, he wanted to introduce her to her. At first, song xiaonu refused. Later, she was found to have a uterine tumor. Thinking that if something happened to her, her son would not be taken care of in the future, she agreed to let her brother introduce her, so she met her current husband.
We grew up in a different environment. My brother suffered a lot more than I did. Zhang Baogang said that he had seen other children pressing his brother on the ground, stuffing cow dung for his brother to eat, watching him swallow, and once others broke his brothers leg.
Every time Zhang Baogang saw his brother being bullied, he took a stick to wrestle with those children. I told my brother that you should resist and not be bullied. My brother will not talk about bullying with his family when he comes home. If he says it, he will be scolded or beaten up Zhang Baogang said, tears streaming down.
Zhang Baoren rarely mentioned these events with the people around him. All you know about the past is just the tip of the iceberg, which you will never understand. Zhang Baoren said that the biggest victim of her fathers accident was her mother. She had worked so hard to pull the two brothers together. When her father came out, her mother only asked for a hug, but she didnt do it.
When my father came back that day, I saw that my mother had suffered so much injustice that I couldnt stand it. He told interface news.
When he calmed down, Zhang Baoren thought that he would go and have a good chat with his father when he calmed down the joy he had just returned home. He would tell his father all his experiences and feelings in the past few years.
I never hated him in my heart because he was my father and I had to tell him all my growing up experiences. Zhang Baoren said.
Once, when they went to the snack bar, Zhang Yuhuan looked at the goods on the shelf, and finally asked Zhang Baogang to buy him a bag of instant noodles, a luxury in prison.
Before the crime, there were still 50 or 60 families in Zhangjia village. In the past 20 years, many villagers gradually moved away from the village, some moved to the highway far away from the village, and more villagers bought houses in Jinxian county. Zhangjia village has become a hollow village worthy of its name. Some paths have been covered with weeds and few people come and go.
Zhang Yuhuan pondered over the repair of his hometowns house, and tentatively asked his son how much it would cost to build a house. The son said that it might cost 50.6 million yuan to build a small building in the countryside. He was stunned. He thought that at most thirty or fifty thousand could be built.
When he is free, Zhang Yuhuan will also go to the fields. He thought that during this time he would live in the village and spend more time with his aged mother. He also thought that when the village gave him the land that belonged to him, he could cultivate the land and feed himself first.
Many media reporters from all over the country came to Zhangjia village, this hollow village suddenly more people. Some relatives of Zhangjia drive to visit Zhang Yuhuan from other places. Villagers who usually dont walk around often take the initiative to sit down and talk about their daily life. This is a rare scene in the village.
Zhang Yuhuan was interviewed by a wave of media reporters. Sometimes, Zhang Yuhuan frowned and hesitated for a while in the face of a reporters questions. Sometimes, his words didnt express the meaning of his words, but his answer was often a short one or two words. Zhang Yuhuan repeated his experience over and over again. When he was tired, he would look at the reporter and say, dont ask this question. Ive said it many times. its almost good..
In the past few days, song xiaonu is constantly telling the story of her and her two sons to the outside world. When it comes to the emotional place, she still cant control her emotions, as if she is about to faint. The two sons, worried about her high blood pressure, took turns at her side. She would sometimes change the way to separate her son, quietly take a few antihypertensive drugs, and then whispered to the people around her, I dont want my son to see me taking the medicine..
Today, the families of the two victims no longer live in Zhangjia village, and they seldom contact with the villagers. The night Zhang Yuhuan went back to his hometown, the parents of the murdered child Zhang Dawei learned the news. Zhangs mother, Liu Hehua, didnt fall asleep all night. After her eldest sons accident, she suffered a heavy blow. Up to now, her sleep is not good.
In Zhangjia village, since Zhang Yuhuan came back, many villagers at home have become cautious when mentioning Zhang Yuhuans case. They are not willing to mention their past views on the case. They are all villagers from the same village. After Zhang Yuhuan comes out, we will not have any problems. One villager said.
A new life of poverty
Song xiaonus day of leaving is getting closer and closer. She feels that everyone has to face the reality. Now, song xiaonu has formed a new family. Her husband lives by fishing at sea. She is also very kind to her and is very accommodating to her.
Im really happy that Zhang Yuhuan comes back. In fact, when everyone is happy, Zhang Yuhuan will become the most miserable one. My wife is gone, and my family is as poor as a rag. Song xiaonu sighed. She couldnt let go of her family now.
Zhang Yuhuan also knew that life would gradually return to peace, her brothers and sisters would return to their own lives, and song xiaonu would return to her present family. Its a little reluctant, but I hope that she can live a better life there and less come here, because she has a family there. He said.
Two days before Zhang Yuhuan went home, song Xiaonv had been thinking about what gift to give Zhang Yuhuan. Later, she spent more than 1800 yuan to buy a black mobile phone. She felt that the mobile phone was indispensable for Zhang Yuhuan to return to society.
Two people face to face, Zhang Baogang kept using his mobile phone to dial Zhang Yuhuans mobile phone and taught him to answer the phone. In turn, let Zhang Yuhuan call himself. Two hours later, Zhang Baogang repeatedly trained his father in the simplest way until he barely learned to make and answer the phone.
Song xiaonu thought that Zhang Yuhuan was back and needed company. I can give my two sons, three grandchildren and a granddaughter to him. I hope that their family will live happily and happily. They will live a good life and do not let me suffer in vain.
Both Zhang Yuhuan and his two sons feel that the family needs a process of reconstruction. The only time Zhang Baoren saw his father in person before Zhang Yuhuan regained his freedom was in 1994, when he was 5 years old.
After Zhang Yuhuan was jailed, Zhang Baogang and his younger brother rarely called the word Dad. Later, song xiaonu found a stepfather for her sons. The two brothers did not call him Dad, but called him father. In their hometown, father can also be understood as father. In fact, the two brothers only deliberately avoid the word father.
It wasnt until I had my own child that I taught my child to call him dad Zhang Baogang said that in the past two days, he has been stressing with his father that his father needs to know his brother in advance and hopes that his father can understand him.
Zhang Baogang believes that in order to give his father spiritual comfort in his future life, he should integrate into the big family of his brothers, his daughter-in-law and grandchildren, and live with his family.
Four generations live in the same hall. Photo source: Liang Zhou / photo
Outside, the sun is roasting the earth. Under the eaves, Zhang Baogang asked his 6-year-old daughter, where is your home? The daughter replied, in Jiangxi.. Zhang Baogang pointed to the house where Zhang Yuhuan lived and asked his daughter, where is this? The daughter said, this is where dad lives.