A reporter who helped restore the reputation of a wrongly executed man was honoured by the Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday for his pursuit of truth, reported Xinhua on Thursday.
58-year-old Tang Ji, who works for Xinhua News Agency, was awarded a class-one merit by the news agency for his contribution to the overturn of the Hugjiltu case.
Hugjiltu, a man of Mongolian ethnicity, was sentenced to death for rape and murder in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, in 1996. The 18-year-old was executed 62 days after being charged, despite doubts about the evidence against him.
Nine years later, Zhao Zhihong, who had been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a series of rapes and killings, confessed to the murder.
Tang Ji then began investigating the case, and wrote five reports to call for a retrial of the case.
After nine years fighting to expose the truth, the conviction of Hugjiltu was overturned on Dec 15, 2014 and the victim's family was awarded compensation of 2.06 million yuan (S$431,379).
The hard-won correction of the verdict is regarded as a historic event in China's judicial development. Tang said the case shows the determination of the leadership to promote the rule of law.