An unlicensed Chinese street vendor, Xia Junfeng, was executed on Sept. 25 in Liaoning Province. The Chinese public was outraged at the injustice. Four years ago, Xia was selling food on the street without a proper license. Up to 10 city-inspectors, known as chengguan, started to beat Xia in a confrontation.
Out of panic, Xia stabbed three of them with a knife in self-defense, killing two. The execution of Xia is causing widespread disagreement and fury, with many people expressing their opinion through social media.
Tong Zongjin, a professor at China University of Political Science, said on his microblog:
“If even Bo Gu Kailai can live when she committed a planned murder, then Xia Junfeng should not be dead for stabbing people in self-defense.
“Equality before the law is a dream, if not a living joke.”
Some of China’s official media also added a sympathetic note in the coverage of Xia’s story. The Global Times said that this was a tragedy for all. Xinhua News Agency showed a series of artworks by Xia’s young son, including a painting showing a child running to hug his father.
The public sympathy towards Xia reflects a widespread contempt towards the current “city-inspecting system.” It also highlights a lack of trust in the China’s judicial system, which is extremely biased against the accused by prioritizing the interests of the Communist regime.
Teng Biao, Xia’s attorney, said Xia’s sentence was meant to convey a message—any behavior that is considered a challenge to the government, even to the grass-roots law enforcement officers, is intolerable. Teng Biao said the court refused to adopt the testimony of six witnesses, who could have clearly demonstrated that Xia Junfeng’s action was in self-defense.
In the last half-hour meeting with his wife, Xia did not cry. He also did not sign the execution document. He asked the police to take a picture of his family for his son to keep, but his request was denied. The last words he left to this world were, “I refuse to accept this.”
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