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China executes man who killed official over home demolition

A Chinese man who killed a village official with a nail gun after his home was forcibly demolished was executed on Tuesday despite a public outcry over his condemnation.

AFP | Beijing |

A Chinese man who killed a village official with a nail gun after his home was forcibly demolished was executed on Tuesday, a court said, despite a public outcry over his condemnation.
Jia Jinglong killed his village chief in the northern province of Hebei last year, state media said.
Lawyers and online commenters had called for Jia's sentence to be commuted on the grounds that the demolition of his home by local officials constituted extenuating circumstances, and because he confessed to the crime.
The house was pulled down just weeks before his wedding day in 2013, the state-run Global Times reported previously, adding he was beaten and denied compensation.
Today's edition of the paper carried another report on legal experts urging the execution be halted in a letter to China's Supreme People's Court, citing “mismanagement” in rural areas and inadequate judicial procedures.
But the Intermediate People's Court in Shijiazhuang said on a verified social media account: “The execution of the murderer Jia Jinglong has been carried out.” 
Before being put to death Jia met his relatives “according to the law”, the official news agency Xinhua said.
Neither the court nor Xinhua specified how Jia was killed, but executions in China are believed generally to be carried out by lethal injection.
Jia's case had sparked widespread debate on Chinese social media. Hundreds signed an online petition calling for the death sentence to be revoked.
Violent land seizures and forced evictions of villagers by local officials clearing the way for development projects are a major source of social resentment in China, sometimes triggering unrest.
“The reason why this aroused such an intense social reaction is that in the background many people deeply resent forced relocations, so much so that it provoked profound concern,” popular commentator Shi Susi said on China's Twitter-like Weibo social media platform.
“Executing Jia Jinglong is easy, but pacifying this feeling that's been accumulating for years on end can't be done overnight. Speed up China's reform, rule of law, and equality.” 
One well-liked comment responding to his post alleged that the real reason Jia was executed was because the son of the village official he killed had become the local party secretary.
China is widely believed to lead the world in executions with estimates of a few thousand every year although the exact figure is considered a state secret.
They have declined in recent years following the requirement that the Supreme Court review such sentences.
A Chinese court last year commuted the death sentence of a woman who killed her abusive husband after a public outcry, in what was seen as a landmark verdict.