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:

而酒吧外的镜头显示,死者追出去大约十米,以右手不停的对一pol.ice头颈部位做动作,或者是在击打对方后脑,又或者是希望可以用搂头颈的方式将对方摔倒,最终成功将该pol.ice放倒坐在地上

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.

两个人在pol.ice已经转身低头弯腰快步走开避让的情况下追打该pol.ice到墙角转弯处。
可以想象,该pol.ice的头部最少被打一砖头外加若干拳。。。这从后面的画面该pol.ice以手捂头得以证实,可能已经见血

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,

再三忍让后,地痞仍然不依不饶,脱掉上衣拿起砖头摆出一个不把人打死事不罢休的架势,这时候被威胁的一方进行自卫是相当正义的.
地痞死亡,充其量只能算防卫过当.

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,

那个死者也太狂了,早晚得出事!

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
就眼前的结果来看,真相和传言就算有差距也不能让涉案的警察脱罪。6个警察在一起,就算是被挑衅,也不应该打死人。况且在中国,谁敢真正挑衅6个警察?按常识,最多是言语冲突加上肢体冲突,但把人都打死了,还是以警察的身份打的,虽然和杨佳一案毫不相干,一南一北。但还是让我们高呼:中国警察,操蛋!

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 bullog.cn said,

民主社会应该是法治社会。
…..警察虽没穿警服,没在执行公务,但是他们应该比普通人更懂法,更有能力制服肇事人员,不该轻率打死人。

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,

幼稚!!
在那种情况下你搬这些规定只说明你是个小孩一样看事情

Naive!!
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,

中国要进入一个暴力时代了

Is China entering an era of violence?

2 comments

  • […] separate incidents show different sides to China’s complex views concerning police and crime. [Global Voices […]

  • i saw the case on tv ,that man killed by policemen belong chinese communist party class , it is a mistake , people mention that victim injoy a lot of privileges , i heared so much people laugh for it .

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