Driver takes drastic action against rule-breaker

By Global Times – Agencies Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-25 1:10:30

A chaotic traffic jam on a street in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province Photo: CFP


Tang Jinxiang Photo: CCTV

If a car cuts you off to overtake yours, what would you do? For Tang Jinxiang, a driver in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province, the answer was clear. He ran his own car into the offending driver's.

The Volkswagen, which had been trying to enter Tang's lane, immediately flipped over onto its roof. The incident occurred at around 6 pm, rush hour on China National Highway 107 in Dongguan. Luckily, the two people inside in the Volkswagen were not injured.

As there were signs on the road saying that changing lanes was forbidden, the local traffic police judged that the driver of the Volkswagen should take full responsibility.

The March 5 incident did not receive much media attention until Tang posted footage of the crash from his dashcam online.

The public response to his actions was divided. While some supported him for punishing a driver who violated traffic regulations, others questioned his lack of concern for other people's safety.

"If I were given a second chance, I would still make the same decision. I was just protecting my own rights, my right of way," Tang, 29, said in a China Central Television (CCTV) interview.

Right of way

Tang received his driving license four years ago. He has a great passion for driving and claims that he is familiar with every clause of the traffic law and has rarely violated it in his years of driving.

He has installed three cameras in his vehicle, allowing him to record his journeys fully.

"I don't want to offend others. But if I am offended, I can use this footage as evidence to show police," said Tang.

On Tang's WeChat Moments, automobiles are the most talked about topic. In his spare time, he also likes to have discussions with netizens about cars and driving. He said he didn't think that much of it when he first put the footage online that night.

But the next morning, he woke up to find his WeChat bombarded with friend invitations. Many people told him that the incident helped them vent their frustration, and they would also like to teach a lesson to drivers who didn't obey traffic laws.

On China's roads, traffic violations by either drivers or pedestrians are a common occurrence. The Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese traffic police dealt with more than 17 million cases involving road rage in 2015, including arbitrary lane changes and dangerous overtaking. 

In May, 2015, a video showing a driver in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province beating up a female driver whose repeated lane changes allegedly frightened his baby, sparked hot online discussion.

Figures issued by the World Health Organization in May 2015 showed that more than 200,000 people die each year due to traffic accidents in China. The figure is at least four times higher than the Chinese government's estimates in recent years. According to the Ministry of Public Security, the country has more than 169 million car owners.

"Obeying laws and regulations is the bottom line of morality. If you don't follow the fundamental moral standard, how can you talk about morals with others?" said Tang.

Who's to blame?

A survey carried out by news portal on Tang's case showed that 55 percent of netizens think "protecting one's right of way" is more important than "respecting people's lives," with the remaining 45 percent thinking people's lives are more important.

"The Volkswagen violated the law. Preventing illegal activities is upholding justice," wrote one of Tang's supporters.

Many people question why Tang did not come to the aid of the Volkswagen passengers immediately after the crash. Tang explained that the first thing he did was to take out safety signs to make drivers behind him aware of the accident and when he returned, the two passengers had already gotten out of the car.

While Tang initially got a lot of support, he later became the target of criticism after he said in a WeChat group that this was the seventh car he had run into.

"I only collided with those cars when I was sure they needed to take full responsibility," he said in one WeChat group. Dongguan police later investigated Tang's case to determine if criminal charges should be brought against him, but they found that Tang's claims were false.

"I was dragged into a WeChat group and they praised me for my deeds and asked me to share some experiences, so I said this. It was just a joke," he said in the CCTV interview. 

In his CCTV show, the host Bai Yansong asked if Tang's behavior was a greater sin than violating traffic law.

Because of this incident, Tang's life has changed. In the past fortnight, he received more than 3,000 harassing phone calls, and was so upset he did not go to work, according to the Beijing Youth Daily report.

"I can't control what other people say. Things have passed. Let it go," Tang told the Global Times.

Previously, he was quite open to the media, but after some media outlets began to criticize him, he became hostile to them. "The media only cares about headlines. I don't want to accept interviews anymore," he said.

Tang's family members also criticized him for not caring about road safety, but he said this is because they don't drive. His friends told him that he should not disclose his personal information in the future.

Tang now regrets uploading the video and he said he won't post other car accident footage in the future.

But he still thinks what he did was right. "The most important thing is safe driving. People should not arbitrarily change lanes. China has millions of drivers. If they don't follow traffic regulations, the millions of traffic police won't be able to handle it. So we need to follow the law."

Newspaper headline: Road warrior

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