The story sounds as surreal as it’s tragic. After all, there is certain truth in the Chinese saying that the police are but certified gangsters.
It was around 10 pm on October 25, Wu Ying and her husband Cai Shiyong were watching TV at the back of their little rice noodle eatery in Ping Nan county in China’s southern province of Guangxi. Two customers were also in the store. Hu Ping, a local policeman who, together with another 9 friends, just finished 5 kilogram of local white wine, stepped in, shirtless and with a gun on his belt.
“Do you have milk tea?”
“No, we don’t.”
After learning that he cannot get milk tea at Wu’s rice noodle shop, Hu pointed his gun at one of the two customers and asked again: “So you don’t sell milk tea, do you?” At that point, everyone at the scene can feel the tension.
Wu then told Hu to walk down the street for milk tea, but just as she finished the sentence, her husband was shot in the shoulder. When she tried to walk out to call for help, Hu aimed the gun at her and fired, first in her head, then in her belly.
Wu was 5-month pregnant. According to the doctor who later announced her death, it was a boy, a son that the couple for years have wished for. Wu’s husband Cai Shiyong, who is still in the hospital recovering from the shot in shoulder, said: “We really don’t sell milk tea. Why shoot us?”
It is tragic, but to many Chinese netizens, it’s more than a tragedy. As popular Weibo account 假装在纽约 commented, the case shows the extent of power abuse in China. “This may be an individual case. But we can easily image what this police looks like during everyday work. We need to reflect on why our police system recruited such people in the first place.” Another netizen 蝈蝈1968 commented.
The tension between ordinary people and the police isn’t news in China. The Chinese have long jokingly equaled police with gangsters certified by the government. What happened in Guangxi this week only reinforces that image.
“In China, whoever works as a police long enough will eventually turn into a gangster.” One netizen 麦田上的Losties commented.