Liu Dawes was imprisoned in 2014 for importing 24 air rifles from a Taiwanese dealer. Because 20 of the 24 guns were considered by the court to have lethal capabilities, the 18-year-old Liu was sentenced as a weapons smuggler to life imprisonment.
The Higher People’s Court of Fujian overturned that sentence after the conclusion of Liu’s appeal on October 18.
“We believe the penalty was not appropriate for this case,” the court wrote in an opinion.
Following Liu’s sentence, his parents quit their jobs and moved from Sichuan to Fujian to advocate for their son.
Liu Dawei’s father Liu Xingzhong now works in construction field, and his mother works as a janitor in a Fujian hospital.
“It’s been two years. It’s been hard for us,” Liu Dawei’s mother said.
Under Chinese law, any weapon with a muzzle capable of projecting an object at an energy ratio above 1.8 joules per square millimeter to be a lethal weapon.
Liu Xingzhong said he and his wife visit the prison every week. When the appeal began, Liu requested 10 books on the law so he could learn more about his case.
“He said he spends most of the time he isn’t engaged in force labor on his books,” Liu Xingzhong told Beijing Youth Daily.
Liu’s father said that although the court has overturned the life sentence, they will still have to wait to learn what lesser punishment may replace it.