On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, a Chinese couple was executed following a crime that sent shockwaves through a family and sparked nationwide anger.
Zhang Bo and his accomplice, Ye Chengchen, his girlfriend, met their end by lethal injection, marking the conclusion of a tragic series of events that started with the killing of Zhang’s two young children in Chongqing, a city in southwest China.
The Chongqing High People’s Court convicted Zhang for hurling his two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son from the 15th floor of an apartment complex in 2020.
Ye was equally found guilty for her part in the offense, having persuaded Zhang to carry out the act, viewing the children as barriers to their intended life together.
The court’s verdict illustrated a crime that was carefully planned and driven by a motive deemed “despicable” and carried out in an excessively harsh manner.
In December 2021, following a comprehensive legal procedure, the Chongqing No. 5 Intermediate People’s Court gave the couple a death sentence, a verdict backed by the Supreme People’s Court after serious scrutiny of appeals.
The Supreme Court’s declaration underscored the heinous intent behind the murders, reinforcing the requirement for a robust response to such dreadful crimes.
The incident unfolded in the context of Zhang’s choice to begin a new chapter with Ye, after divorcing his wife, Chen Meilin, in February 2020.
Ye, seeing the children as impediments to their shared future, manipulated Zhang into removing them.
Following the murders in November 2020, Zhang exhibited signs of regret, as demonstrated by video footage revealing him in a state of clear remorse and emotional distress.
The public’s response to the executions has been diverse, with many expressing relief that justice has been delivered, as shown by the nearly 200 million views and numerous supportive comments on Weibo, a widely used Chinese social media platform.
This public sentiment aligns with a 2020 study indicating considerable backing for the death penalty among Chinese citizens, although experts warn that online opinions may not fully reflect the wider public perspective.