Murderer who said judgment was 'a bit too harsh' may appeal A Suixi county fisheries chief who murdered the deputy he feared was about to replace him has been sentenced to death, Guangzhou media reported yesterday. The sentence was handed down to Xuan Xiong , the former chief of the county's Oceanic and Fishery Bureau, by the Zhanjiang Intermediate People's Court on Monday, the Guangzhou Daily said. Xuan was also ordered to pay 350,000 yuan to the victim's relatives. Xuan hit Chen Zhenhua , 51, on his head with a spanner and then slit the subordinate's wrists on January 3 in Chen's office. Chen died from blood loss, and Xuan surrendered to police that morning. Wearing prison clothes, Xuan appeared emaciated in the dock and kept his head lowered throughout the trial, according to the newspaper's report. When asked whether he would appeal to a higher court, Xuan murmured, 'I will think about it,' the report said, adding that he described the sentence as 'a bit too harsh'. Xuan's lawyer had pleaded that his client was mentally unstable when he killed his deputy, but the judge rejected that argument after considering an independent medical opinion. The judge stressed that even though Xuan confessed, the court could not be lenient because of the cruelty of the murder. The judge added that Xuan had a clear mind and could control himself even though he was once admitted to hospital for depression. More than 200 people attended the trial, including relatives of the victim. Chen's wife, Chen Guiying , said she would not lodge any appeal against the judgment. In his defence, Xuan said he decided to kill Chen because he told others that he was soon going to replace his 57-year-old boss. 'I felt so dizzy that I cannot recall anything,' Xuan reportedly said when asked to recall the day. 'We had different points of view over some incident. But there was no conflict between Chen and me.' International rights groups estimate that the mainland executes more people than any other country. But Beijing has been slowly reforming the death-penalty system after several high-profile wrongful convictions raised public anger. A death sentence must be approved by the Supreme People's Court before it can be carried out. Under fierce criticism because of its high number of executions, the mainland returned the right to approve capital punishment to the Supreme People's Court on January 1. The power had been relinquished to provincial high courts in the 1980s.