Chinese public cheers for man who killed his attacker, triggering debate over self-defense

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/30 18:53:40

Discussions on self-defense erupted on Chinese social media following reports that a knife-wielding man on a road rage was killed by his intended victim.

The incident occurred in Kunshan, East China's Jiangsu Province Monday night, when a BMW switched from the vehicle to the bicycle lane, colliding with a man on a bicycle, who seemingly refused to give way, surveillance video showed.

The BMW driver, surnamed Liu, got off the car and began to hit the biker, surnamed Yu.

Although Yu did not appear to be fighting back, Liu returned to his car and took out a knife, which he used to hit Liu.

In the ensuing fight, Liu's knife slipped from his hand. That was when Yu picked it up and fought back.

The video showed Yu chasing Liu.

The next day, police in Kunshan said on its Sina Weibo that Liu was dead and that an investigation was ongoing.

Yu left the hospital on Thursday.

This incident soon attracted wide social media attention. The topic "Killing man in Kunshan's Zhengchuan road" received 280 million views on Sina Weibo and around 100,000 netizens participated in the discussion.

Kunshan police said they attach great importance to the case because it has drawn wide public attention, China National Radio (CNR) reported.

The police and Kunshan's procuratorate are investigating and examining the case, the Kunshan police said.

But they declined an interview request from the Global Times, claiming that "certain details are too early to tell."

Social media opinion overwhelmingly favors Yu, with many netizens considering his behavior "self-defense."

It is inaccurate to say Yu intended to hurt Liu after he picked up the knife, Zhang Xinnian, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"It is also wrong to say Yu lost his right to self-defense after he picked up the knife and chased Liu," Zhang said.

Law enforcers should consider the victim's state of mind and the situation, according to Zhang.

Yu was even portrayed as a Robin Hood-type figure after media reported that Liu was a repeat offender, having been arrested five times since 2001, for picking fights, theft and blackmail.

"[Yu] is cracking down on criminals and serving justice. He deserves a silk banner and 500 yuan ($73) as a reward," a Sina Weibo user said.

"The judge will certainly take public opinion into consideration in its verdict… a fair verdict should be consistent with the public's wish, not against it," Ruan Qilin, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Newspaper headline: Road rage sparks self-defense debate

Posted in: SOCIETY

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