A man who raped a 10-year-old girl was sentenced to death by the Guangxi High People's Court on Monday after a retrial, with the court withdrawing its previous ruling that he deserved a suspended death sentence. The high court announced the death sentence for Yang Guangyi, 31, a native of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, after setting up a new panel to retry the case. The court said Yang used violent means to rape the girl, who was on her way home after picking passion fruit to sell in Lingshan county, Qinzhou, Guangxi, on Oct 4,2018. He choked the girl, stabbed her and then dumped her body. She died as a result of her injuries. In July 2019, Yang was sentenced to death by the Qinzhou Intermediate People's Court for the crime of rape, but he appealed to the high court, saying he should be granted leniency because he turned himself in after the rape. In March, the high court overturned the intermediate court's ruling, changing Yang's death sentence to a death penalty with a two-year reprieve, adding that further commutation of the sentence was unlikely due to the violent nature of his crime, even if Yang behaved well in prison. Under the Criminal Law, repeat offenders or defendants convicted of violent crimes, including intentional homicide, rape and robbery, may face a "commutation limit" after they are given a suspended death sentence if they are judged to have used cruel means in committing the crimes and are regarded as potential dangers to society. "The limit means such convicts have to serve at least 20 years in prison," Xu Hao, a Beijing criminal lawyer explained. "And when they're serving prison terms, further commutation may not be easy, which is to ensure they can be better rehabilitated." After the high court altered Yang's sentence in March, the girl's mother, Chen Liyan, appealed to the Supreme People's Court, China's top court. On Nov 11, the top court ordered the high court to retry the case with a new panel, and the retrial opened on Dec 15. On Monday, the high court said: "Yang was not eligible for lenient punishment and should be sentenced to death because he raped the girl in an extremely cruel manner and his behavior had a great negative effect on society." It added that the death penalty will be submitted to the top court for review in line with the Criminal Procedure Law. Yang's execution will need to be approved by the Supreme People's Court. Hou Shichao, the lawyer for the victim's family, said he was satisfied with Monday's ruling, adding that Chen had cried loudly after hearing the court announce Yang's death sentence. Hou said he was impressed and moved by a part of the high court's ruling that said preventing juveniles from being harmed and protecting their growth not only relates to the happiness of each family and the stability of society, but also to the future of the country. "Yang should be harshly punished, as he raped a girl under the age of 10 in a way that was extremely brutal," he said.