China Executes Student Over Stabbing Death
A 21-year-old music student who accidentally struck a young woman with his car, then silenced her by stabbing her to death on the roadway, was executed Tuesday in Xian, in northwestern China, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The student, Yao Jiaxin, had lost an appeal of a death sentence handed down by a Xian court on April 22. The crime had fanned deep public resentment against the so-called “fu er dai,” the “rich second generation” of privileged families who are widely believed to commit misdeeds with impunity because of their wealth or connections.
Mr. Yao was the son of employees of a state-owned corporation in China’s defense sector, one of them an executive and a military officer. The victim, Zhang Miao, 26, was a peasant with a family. Mr. Yao, a student at a local music conservatory, was driving a Chevy Cruze in Xian last Oct. 20 when he struck Ms. Zhang, who was riding a bicycle. The woman was not seriously injured, according to news reports. But when Mr. Yao realized that she was memorizing his license plate number, he stabbed her eight times with a knife. He said later that he feared the woman, a poor peasant, would “be hard to deal with” should she seek compensation for her injuries. Mr. Yao was detained after a second auto accident that night and initially denied killing Ms. Zhang, but turned himself in two days later.
Ms. Zhang’s murder came just four days after another privileged son, Li Qiming, struck and killed a young university student with his automobile in Hebei Province, then fled the scene after telling guards who sought to stop him, “My father is Li Gang,” a local police official. Both crimes stirred national outrage on China’s social-networking Web sites; in January, Li Qiming was sentenced to six years in prison. Ms. Zhang’s husband, Wang Hui, had rejected court-ordered compensation of about $6,900 for her death, calling it “money stained with blood.” Instead, he pledged to delay Ms. Zhang’s burial until her killer was executed.