Wu Ying's father has spoken out after China's supreme court on Friday over-turned her death penalty ruling while upholding the merits of her fraud case.
"I feel so disappointed with the re-sult, even though the life of my daughter has been temporarily saved," Wu Yong-zheng, Wu Ying's father, told the Global Times Sunday.
Unlike her father, Wu Ying's defense lawyer Zhang Yanfeng welcomed the ruling by the country's highest court.
The Supreme People's Court (SPC) did not dispute Wu's guilt, maintaining that the facts of the case were clear, the evidence was sufficient and the nature of the crime Wu committed had been de-termined accurately in the verdicts made by lower courts.
"Why has the SPC declared the na-ture of the crime was accurately deter-mined if it believed that an immediate execution might be inappropriate after considering the case? It is such an unfair sentence," cried Wu Yongzheng.
"I am grateful for the SPC's ruling, because it has saved Wu Ying's life," Zhang told the Global Times Sunday, adding that Wu could be sentenced to life imprisonment if she does not com-mit any crimes in the next two years.
Wu Ying, who rose from a humble background to build a business empire that included spas, hotels and property, was sentenced to death for "illegal fund-raising," or pooling money outside the official banking system by a lower court in December 2009.
Wu tried to mitigate her sentence in January by agreeing to plead guilty to the lesser charge of
"fundraising fraud," but the Zhejiang Higher People's Court up-held the previous decision by the lower court.
After reviewing the case, the SPC has sent it back to the Zhejiang Higher Peo-ple's Court to hand out a new sentence, Xinhua News Agency reported.
According to Zhang, he still plans to plead her innocence because Wu has voluntarily stated her behavior and reported some corrupt government of-ficials, beneficial evidence that should reduce her sentence.
"It is quite possible that Wu will be sentenced to death with reprieve, but there still may be other possibilities," said Zhang.
Chen Tao, a lawyer with the Criminal Law Committee under the Beijing Law-yers Association, agreed with Zhang's assessment.
According to Chen, the SPC's rul-ing leaves some room for the Zhejiang Higher People's Court to change the original sentence.
"The SPC's ruling might be influ-enced by the public's reaction to the Wu Ying case. Many believe that Wu should not be sentenced to death," Chen told the Global Times Sunday.
There is no word yet on when the Zhejiang court will issue a new decision on the case.