China: Student killed by police, but wins not much sympathy

Yang Jia killed 6 police in Shanghai with a knife, and was sentenced to death in the 1st trial in August, but won quite a lot applause from the blogsphere and folks, who deemed him as a hero against oppression.

Meanwhile Lin Songling, a college student in Harbin, (North China) who was beaten to death by 6 police, received little simple sympathy and indignation towards the cops, but a great dissent on opinions.

A brief outline of what happened on the night of October 12 goes like this: 5 students, one of them a girl, celebrated one's birthday at a pub. The party then broke into a quarrel with another 6 men over parking, which led to a melee. Seen from a security video widely circulated on the internet, the deceased, Lin Songlin, roughed up the other party first, 4 times in total, once with a brick picked up from the ground. His opponents, who were actually plainclothes police, at first shirked from physical contact, and bore quite a few hard punches. When their temper could no longer be constrained, the 6 men pulled Lin 80 meters away from the bar, and when they left, Lin came to be a dead body, shirtless, curled up at the foot of a wall.

On EastSouthWestNorth there is a detailed English report on the incident that can clarify more. But what we're concerned with here is, after watching the video and getting to know more beyond the hair-raising headline “6 police killed 1 college student”, would you veer to the opposite view from a police-hater to think “perhaps, there is another story?”

Scores of netizens have done so after watching the video clip, now discussing the deceased as a “conceited, senseless playboy, as wealthy as to drive a Benz, but as stupid as to provoke a bunch of cops”, and celebrating that, “the police rooted out a plague for people.” Why is it so?

A netizen in MOP, one of a few Chinese websites that didn't screen off entries related to the incident, gave a comprehensive analysis of the video:


In the 2nd round of the fight, the deceased pursued and incessantly hit one of the police on his head… the policeman was finally wrestled down to the ground.


The two men chased the police to the corner even has he had lowered down to dodge the punch. It's easy to predict that he must have at least been hit by a brick in addition to several punches. Proved from his behavior to cover the head by hand, he was already bleeding.

Exactly these details brought to the internet made views vary much from when the incident was first exposed.

彼岸一狼 said on Tianya in response to the official report, calling the dead as hooligan,


With the police putting up with the humiliation time after time, the hooligan still didn't give up and brandished a brick as if he would fight to death. In this situation, the threatened could rightly defend himself. The hooligan's death only make it an excessive defense.

该用户名以被占用 agreed,


The dead guy was so overbearing! He would run into a misfortune sooner or later.

But netizen Flag of Party Member (党员的旗帜)disagreed,

党员的旗帜 [60.0.129.*] @ 2008-10-14 0:23:39

According to what we know, even the rumor before goes far from the fact, we can not absolve the police. 6 police should by no way beat someone to death even under provocation. And in China, who really dares incense 6 police? In common sense, it should at most be verbal and physical conflict. But now it's a homicide case. Even though it has nothing to do with Yangjia case, one in south the other north, let's still exclaim: Chinese Police, Fu*k You!

This might very critically reflect the status quo in China today that, in the eyes of common people, the police and the wealthy (the deceased drove a Benz) are just two sides of the oppression, one economic, the other political. Based on the hatred, we start to judge by temper.

This could greatly undermine the promotion of law as the real standard. But fortunately, concerned voices are not lacking.

Netizen 无上荣光(Utmost Glory)in said,


The democratic society should be a law-ruling society….. though the police didn't wear uniform, they should be more informed about law then commons, and more able to control the trouble-makers, rather than rashly beating people dead.

Blogger 莫之许 even posted the entire “national police law” in his blog.

His first comment is from 青年墨水,


You are just like a child to show out these regulations in such a situation.

But he received 112 “disagree” vs. only 25 “agree”, implying the absence of law could not be justified in any way.

And more people questioned why the police just don't show their IDs. And people guess that, even knowing the identity of the police, the deceased may not have cared at all with powerful backing. Whatever the word of mouth is, the court has intervened and an investigation is ongoing.

However, worry is not in vain, given the frequent conflicts between the national authorities and ordinary folks recently. Is China really going on a track as the netizen said,


Is China entering an era of violence?


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