Success: Death Sentence Suspended for Domestic Violence Victim


Target: Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of China

Goal: Praise decision to suspend the death penalty for women who killed her husband in self-defense.

A Chinese women, Li Yan, shot and killed her abusive husband. She killed him in their shared home, and did it out of desperation after over a year of continual abuse. This was Yan’s last resort. When she had gone to authorities before to report abuse, they told her to just “bear it” and would not help her.

The abuse Yan endured included being locked out of the house on cold nights, burning her face and legs with cigarettes, sexual abuse, and grabbing her hair and throwing her head against the wall. The night she killed her husband, he drunkenly hit her with a rifle and threatened to kill her. She then took the gun and slammed the barrel against his head twice, killing him.

After Yan was caught, the community responded by promoting the death penalty. She was immediately sentenced to the death penalty by the Ziyang Intermediate People’s Court, but there was uproar due to her dire situation. Our voices at ForceChange were heard, and the death penalty has since been removed. She will be sentenced to life in prison, but the sentence may be reduced later due to good behavior.

China is not known for its favor in protecting women of domestic abuse, and Li Yan is no different. However, the recognition of her history of domestic violence is an important step for Chinese women experiencing abuse. Please support this decision to suspend the death penalty, and to continue to support change for women’s rights in China.


Dear President Wang Shengjun,

Li Yan was a victim of domestic abuse for over a year. Her abuse included sexual abuse, being burned with cigarettes, and physical violence such as being her head being hit against a wall. After repeated violence and a threat on her life, Yan killed her husband.

Murder is not to be taken lightly, and Yan should be punished for her crime. However, the death penalty is not the appropriate punishment for her crime. Thank you for repealing it in her case, and recognizing her continual abuse. You have my support in continuing to recognize domestic violence and the desperation of victims.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: John O’Neill

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  1. Lynn Juozilaitis says:

    Death Sentence??? They should give her a medal!!! Let this woman OUT of prison NOW!!!

  2. Amy M Glogowski says:

    WTF, she has a right to defend herself & this is what happened! Her husband deserved what he got! She asked for help & no one wanted to help this woman! I don’t feel sorry her husband died, he’s a jerk & she needs to be released! All that pain & suffering! Wake up!

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