A college student went on trial March, 23rd, for murdering a young mother after accidentally running into her with his car last year. The trial received national attention (reported live by several news agencies and Sina Weibo) and has stirred up heated debate among Chinese netizens.
The killer’s name is Yao Jiaxin, a 21-year-old student at the Xi’an Conservatory of Music. He knocked over a cyclist Zhang Miao, young mom of a migrant worker family, while driving. When Yao saw Zhang, only slighted injured by the car, staring at him and his plate, he stabbed her to death. He then fled the scene and injured two other passersby on the way before being caught by people at the scene. His reason of stabbing the injured 8 times with a knife? “I fear that she is from the countryside and peasants are hard to deal with. If she is severely injured, she may ask my family and me for money for the rest of her life.”
The worst scenario for Yao is death penalty. So there starts the debate of whether he deserves to die. During Yao’s trial, his lawyer referred his action as “emotional killing” and asked for mercy. Among his plea, there were a letter of apology and regret, 13 merit certificates during school, and 4 letters written by his friends and schoolmates, saying that Yao was too good and talented a student to receive death penalty.
Yao crying during trial
Yao himself also told a story of his unhappy childhood and “tiger parents”, “I started to practice piano everyday since I was 4. My life was all about piano and studying. My parents would beat me up even for tiny mistakes. If I didn’t get good scores at school, my father would lock me up in the basement. I used to think of committing suicide. Several times. There is nothing in my life except for practicing piano. I cannot see a single slice of hope.”
While his childhood story seems to win over some media sympathy, most of Chinese netizens think he deserves death penalty – discussion of deeper social and cultural reasons of his wrongdoing is OK, bailout is not.
Yao kneeling down during trial to apologize
Netizens’ comment on Tianya:
Who is the lawyer kidding? This is a trial, not thesis defense. Why merit certificates during school have anything to do with his crime?
Emotional killing? This is murder. Even Li Gang cannot save him.
Why such a guy can get as many as 13 merit certificates from school?
His friends and schoolmates must be paid to write the plea letters.
Since when are merit students at school allowed to commit crimes
Either Yao dies, or China’s law dies
Well…Li Gang’s son is OK.
If you plan to kill someone in China, be sure your father is Li Gong, or you have merit student certificates
This is what modern families in China produce. To focus only on academic achievements but not on morals and to treat scores as important as lives
Sentence him to death, or China’s judicial system would be a joke
Emotional killing, another soon-to-be-popular word in this land of miracles. How many crimes are emotional rather than carefully planned?
It makes me start to regret that I didn’t kill those I hate. I have much more merit certificates than Yao has
If 13 merit student certificates are worth a life. How many lives is a Olympic gold medal worth of?
Those schoolmates of Yao’s, what is on their minds to make a plea for him?
Life repaid by life
If he is not sentenced to death, what do we have laws for
Death, no stay of execution
What makes a college student do such a horrible thing?
If we have more news like this, it can probably help to wake up more people to face the problems of the society we live in