'Wall death' runner won't face charges

'Wall death' runner won't face charges
A section of the Great Wall at Badaling in the suburbs of Beijing was one of the most crowded scenic spots in China during the National Day holiday.

Police have decided not to file criminal charges against a Canadian woman who ran into a Chinese woman, who then fell and died, on the Great Wall at Mutianyu on Wednesday.

The Canadian told police she was running, missed her step and accidentally knocked down Cui Hongfang, 70, who was visiting the Great Wall from Heilongjiang province with her family, The Beijing News reported.

More than one witness confirmed the Canadian could be seen leaning over, but no one was able to ascertain whether she had missed her footing.

The police also said the Canadian woman was not running with her friend, according to surveillance cameras set near the section of the Great Wall where the tragedy occurred.

The Canadian, who reportedly was booked to return to Canada on Saturday, is still in Beijing.

The relatives of the victim, however, have not accepted Saturday's decision by the police, saying video footage was not taken at the site of the accident and thus could not prove exactly what had happened.

The incident happened on Wednesday morning. Cui hit the back of her head against a corner of the wall as she fell and died soon after, before the ambulance arrived.

Yi Shenghua, a Beijing-based criminal lawyer, said that since Cui was elderly, her general health must have been taken into account when deciding the case.

"The accident was unforeseeable since normally a person wouldn't die after being knocked down by a running person," Yi said.

However, the relatives can still ask for the procuratorate to review the evidence and decide whether it could be a criminal case. They can also file a private prosecution, Yi said.

The other option would be to file a civil case and the court would then decide if any compensation was due. The two sides can also reach reconciliation.

Han Xiao, another lawyer, said as long as a case is filed, the relatives of the victim can apply to restrict the Canadian from leaving China. If it is a civil case, the Canadian can leave the country after paying a deposit.

The tourism company running the Mutianyu Great Wall said their insurance is valid for the victim despite the fact she was given free admission because she was over 70.

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