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Tokyo murderer sentenced to 20 years in prison

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Chen Shifeng 陈世峰, who fatally stabbed Jiang Ge 江歌, a 24-year-old Chinese student from Qingdao, Shandong Province, on November 3, 2016, at her apartment in Tokyo, was charged with murder and intentional intimidation. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a local court in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The case generated heated nationwide debate, as it also involved the victim’s roommate, Liu Xin 刘鑫, who was blamed partially for the death of Jiang.

Liu broke up with Chen before the murder happened. In the afternoon on November 3, 2016, Chen arrived at the apartment, looking for Liu. Liu, Chen, and Jiang had a quarrel and the three then left the house. However, Chen returned to the house that night when Liu claimed that she was changing her clothes. Liu said she was in her room when she heard Jiang screaming outside. She tried to open the door but was unable to and then called the police.

Screen Shot 2017 12 21 at 1.19.13 PM

Since then, Jiang Ge’s mother has been seeking the truth relentlessly, including by begging Liu, who had disappeared after the murder, to speak up about what happened that day. Many internet users also blamed Liu and her family for their indifferent attitude toward Jiang’s mother. Liu was also under fire for intentionally keeping the apartment door closed and ignoring Jiang’s cry for help. Under pressure, Liu agreed to meet Jiang Ge’s mother in August, 294 days after Jiang’s death. During the meeting, she denied intentionally keeping the door closed and said she didn’t hear Jiang asking for help when the incident happened.

On Weibo, many internet users expressed their dissent and disappointment about the sentencing results. One commenter said: “I have been following the case for two months. It was a long and impossible process to wait for a death penalty for Chen Shifeng. A murderer should pay the price of his own behavior by being killed…. Chen is a dirty criminal who doesn’t know redemption. Ghosts won’t let him go!” Another commenter cited the poem “The Answer” from Chinese poet Bei Dao 北岛 in his response: “Baseness is the passport for the base. Honor an epitaph for the honorable. Who is the law protecting?”


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Jia Guo

Jia Guo is from the coastal city of Qingdao. She has an M.A. in multimedia journalism from NYU and has worked at Facebook and Bloomberg TV in New York City.