Fiction | March 01, 2010

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Zhang Xiaobing would not have called himself a bad person, should anyone have been given the opportunity to pose such a question to the prisoner. In fact, if you asked anyone other than the court-appointed defense attorney whose main function in the trial was to enter Zhang’s guilty plea, the prosecutor and the panel of three judges, who had found him guilty and sentenced him to death, very few people who knew Zhang would have said he was a bad person—wicked, evil, corrupt, a low-born thing, a turtle’s egg, a nonhuman devil whose crimes would merit the ultimate punishment.

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