In China, This Could Have Been Resolved With a Handshake and a Small Bribe

Yuhan 'Coco' Yang, 18, left; Xinlei 'John' Zhang, 18; and Yunyao 'Helen' Zhai,19, face charges for the attack on Yiran 'Camellia' Liu. (Screenshot/
Yuhan 'Coco' Yang, 18, left; Xinlei 'John' Zhang, 18; and Yunyao 'Helen' Zhai,19, face charges for the attack on Yiran 'Camellia' Liu. (Screenshot/

On March 30, a teenage girl, Yiran “Camellia” Liu, 18, was attacked and abused in  Rowland Heights Park, California. “Camellia” Liu was attacked and burned with cigarettes by fellow Chinese “parachute kids.”

The alleged attackers, “Yunyao “Hellen” Zhai, 19, and Yuhan “Coco” Yang, 18, are now facing charges.

The case has sparked a debate, not only in the U.S., but also abroad in China, where some commentators praised the American legal system for bringing criminal charges against the bullies. Apparently, such cases are handled less officially in China.

Allegedly, the whole drama started because of an unpaid dinner bill. There is a claim, however, by one of the defendants’ attorneys that the conflict was actually about a boy and social media posts belittling Zhai’s hometown, Shanghai.

So far, three teenagers involved in the attack on 18-year-old Liu have been charged as adults, and have pleaded not guilty to torture, kidnapping, and assault. “Hellen” Zhai and “Coco” Yang have also pleaded not guilty to charges in the beating and burning of a second teenage victim in a separate incident at a Diamond Bar strip mall three days earlier.

In China it isn't uncommon to solve disputes under the table, often bribes are used to smooth over the situation. (Image: Hermann Rohr)

In China, it isn’t uncommon to solve disputes under the table. Often, bribes are used to smooth over the situation. (Image: Hermann Rohr)

The father of one of the alleged attackers was caught trying to bribe the victims.

According to a sheriff’s detective, about two weeks after the attacks, the father of one of the juvenile suspects was arrested on suspicion of attempting to dissuade the victims from going forward with the case by offering them money.

In China, bullying cases involving students are typically settled by the schools and the families, including some instances where bribes are used to smooth over the situation.

Thai, Yang, and Zhang, the three teens allegedly involved in the attack on Liu, have remained in custody since their arrests shortly after the attack. The Pomona Court set their bail at $3 million each.

The lawyers of the defendants have asked the court to evaluate their clients with court appointed psychologists.

Some experts are concerned about the rising number of unaccompanied overseas students, especially middle-schoolers.

The president of the Beijing-based think tank Center for China & Globalization said: “You have to keep track of your children, and stay in touch with them.”

Some social critics say that the obvious moral decline of Chinese people is due to the fast developing economical system. Others, like Indiana Theologian Paul Begley, argue that the effect of China’s Communist teachings is responsible for China’s moral decay.

A Guardian article tells of a case in China where a 2-year old girl was run over twice in a hardware market district of Foshan, in South China. As the little girl lay on the ground, squirming in pain and before being hit by a second vehicle, 18 people passed by on their bicycles, in cars, and on foot, and all ignored her. Among the people passing by the little injured girl was a woman with her own child. All this could be seen through a nearby surveillance camera.

After finally being rescued by a 58-year-old female rubbish collector, the little girl was brought to a hospital, where she was later declared as brain dead.

In China, the penalty for killing someone in an accident is lower than when the victim survives.

The driver of the second vehicle gave himself up to the police. Before giving himself up, he gave a statement to the media: “If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($ 3,200). But if she’s injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.”

In another case, disregard for the tragedy of others, an 88-year-old man fell face down at the entrance of a vegetable market near his home. For almost 90 minutes he was ignored by people in the busy market. After his daughter finally found him and called an ambulance, the old man died. He suffocated from his nosebleed.

“The Chinese people have arrived at their most morality-free moment!”, someone from Shanghai, with the cyber name “60sunsetred,” wrote.

Chinese toddler left for dead after a double hit-and-run. 18 people walk by until someone finally helps. (Image: Screenshot/ YouTube)

Chinese toddler left for dead in a double hit-and-run. Eighteen people walked by until someone finally helped. (Image: Screenshot/ YouTube)

Dei Ciaotong, China’s first sociologist, says that selfishness is the most serious shortcoming of the Chinese.

According to an article in The GuardianChina’s moral crisis doesn’t just manifest itself in personal life, but also in business practice, and many other areas. In the past, the indifference toward others also existed, but it was neutralized by a traditional moral and religious system. That system, however, was almost completely destroyed by the communists, especially during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Nowadays, Chinese Communism dictates the ideology that dominates Chinese people’s lives like a religion.

Some believe that Chinese youth today are totally disconnected from traditional moral and religious obligations, and that this might pose a crucial problem for their future behavior and social interactions with others.

Translated research by Yi Ming and Kathy.

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