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One Man, One Nailgun, One Dead Public Official

The Chinese authorities have confirmed the execution of Jia Jinglong, a farmer convicted of killing a village official after the demolition of the his home.  Following his arrest, there was widespread support for Jia, many of whom who think of him as a martyr, trapped in a web of Chinese Corruption.


“The execution of Jia, 30, took place in Shijiazhuang, the capital of the northern province of Hebei. He was sentenced to death last November. On Tuesday, he was allowed a brief visit with his family”, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Jia Jinglong standing atop his home, trying to stop the demolition. Image Credit: China Change
Jia Jinglong standing atop his home, trying to stop the demolition. Photo Credit: China Change

Jia’s trial inevitably focused on the brutal nature of the crime, he was found guilty of killing the government official, He Jianhua, by shooting him in the back of the head with a nail gun.

It was the background of the crime which got very little attention at the trial, but stirred anger among a public that saw it as yet another government intrusion into the lives of the people.

A construction site in Beijing, China. Photo Credit: Reinhold Möller, Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Jia’s three-story home was destroyed in May 2013 to make way for a new property development. According to Chinese news reports, even though his father had agreed to the demolition in exchange for compensation and a new apartment promised by local officials, Jia refused.  Naturally, as is the case in China, the home was knocked down.

Watch a video of the demolition taking place below.  Video is a Chinese Language Discussion from VOA regarding Jia Jinglong

After the demolition Jia’s life spiralled out of control.  His long awaited wedding was cancelled by his fiancee, and after months of appealing to the government, stating his opposition to the demolition and that the compensation was insufficient, his cries for help went unanswered. Finally, unable to take anymore Jia snapped and on On Feb. 19, 2015, he fatally shot Mr. He with a nail gun.

Many rallied for his life to be spared, but alas it was all for naught, as yesterday his life was snuffed out like a candle flame in the wind.

After Jia’s execution, there was an open letter to China’s Supreme Court, signed by 12 leading Chinese legal scholars and lawyers and posted online on Monday, argued that the court’s sentence glossed over local corruption and Mr. Jia’s contrition for his crime.


In China, over the past 2 years Xi Jinping, China’s President, has led a crack down on Corruption, but it has become more and more apparent that as long as there is no change to the system, then corruption will continue to thrive.

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