Execution of Couple Guilty of Murdering Toddlers Sparks Public Outrage in China

CHONGQING, China – A couple in Chongqing, China, was executed for the tragic act of throwing two toddlers out of a high-rise apartment window. This horrifying crime stirred up outrage across the nation. The man and his girlfriend were found guilty of killing the children from his previous marriage. They staged an accidental fall from a residential tower in order to start a new family together.

The father, Zhang Bo, began an affair with Ye Chengchen and initially concealed the fact that he was married with children, but Ye eventually discovered the truth. After Zhang divorced his wife, the two plotted to get rid of the children in order to clear the way for their future together. The court heard that Ye saw Zhang’s two children as an “obstacle” and a “burden on their future life together,” and she repeatedly urged Zhang to kill the toddlers, threatening to break up with him if he didn’t comply.

In November 2020, Zhang carried out the heinous act by throwing his two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son from his 15th-floor apartment, resulting in their tragic deaths. Following their conviction, both Zhang and Ye were subsequently sentenced to death, a ruling that was upheld in December 2021 by the Supreme People’s Court, which deemed their crimes “seriously challenging the legal and moral bottom line” and their criminal motive “extremely despicable” and means “particularly cruel.”

The news of their execution generated massive attention on Chinese social media, where it became a top trending topic, drawing hundreds of millions of views. A study published in 2020 revealed that 68% of Chinese citizens are in favor of the death penalty. However, some experts cautioned that online views might not comprehensively reflect China’s public opinion on this matter. There is a lack of rigorous data collection channels to gain a clear understanding of the general public’s views on the death penalty in China, as indicated in a study conducted by a law professor at the University of Hong Kong.

China is known to carry out numerous executions each year, following which the main method used is lethal injection. The execution of the couple underscored the ongoing debates around the use of the death penalty, drawing comparisons with the recent execution of an Alabama inmate using nitrogen gas. While some Chinese social media users viewed the execution as fitting for more serious crimes, others voiced concerns about the ethical and moral implications of such punishment.