China: Yang Jia is dead

Yang Jia (杨佳), who killed 6 police officers at Zhabei District police station in Shanghai on July 1, 2008, was executed this morning (26 of Nov, 2008). A twitter account, foreveryangjia, has been set up to express grievance towards this legendary figure.

Upon receiving the news from Yang's mother about the supreme court's approval of execution last night, human right lawyer and blogger Liu Xiaoyuan expressed his regret that the truth is yet to be revealed..


Yang Jia is about to die, the truth has not yet known!

According to Yang's testimony, he was wrongly accused by the Shanghai police for stealing bicycle in 2007 and suffered from physical abuse during the detention. However, in a close door trial in August, Yang was sentenced to death without a reasonable explanation of his intention in the verdict [zh]. Many considered the trial unfair as the lawyer that Yang's father hired were denied and the government appointed another lawyer, a legal consultant for Zhabei district government [zh], to represent Yang. More scandalous is the fact that Yang's mother, Wang Jingmei, had been kept in a psychiatric hospital [zh] run by the Beijing Police Bureau for about four months, throughout the prosecution of her son. (English briefing see Yang Jia: Stranger than Fiction)

While the government is not very committed to find out the truth, Liu Xiao-yuan tried to put the puzzle together and traced the tragedy back to Yang's mother's petition experience:




Yang Jia's mother Wang Jingmei is an experienced visit petitioner. Back in 2000, she had a conflict with a colleague in her workplace that ended up in court. She found the trial unfair and began her 8 years long visit petition.

According to the media report, her son had been helping her to print her appeal documents.

Wang Jingmei's visit petition has affected her son. In Oct 5 2007, after Yang Jia had been abused in the police station, he bought a thousand envelops with a thousand stamps and a box of papers.




As he knows how to use computer, he used email and telephone for filing his complaints and sent written letters as supplement.

After 9 months, the police had visit Beijing twice to investigate the issue, but they had not dealt with the “appeal” properly which leaded to this bloody explosion.

Yang Jia said he just wanted an explanation not for money. The police said Yang Jia took revenge because he did not get his 10 thousand compensation.


Wang Jingmei told her sister in the hospital that when the Shanghai police visited Beijing the second time to investigate the issue, she recorded the conversation with MP3 which could prove that Yang had never demanded the 10 thousands. However the police had confisticated the evidence. After Yang was arrested, Wang Jingmei hadn't met Yang Jia again. She is the kind of person that stick to fact and her testimony is in line with Yang.


From all the details I have collected, I believe in the mother and son. Just consider, the police pulled Yang Jia to the station. They insisted that they had never beaten Yang, but they could not provide any tape to prove that. They forcibly sent Wang Jingmei to Ankang hospital, but when Wang's relative reported her missing to the police, they told lie that Wang had left the police station by herself. With all these lies, how can people trust them again?

Yang Jia's killing has been interpreted, especially on the internet, as a heroic act of challenging the unjust establishment through violence. Below is a poem written by Lu Xi-an in September 2008 that reflects the people sentiment towards Yang Jia. Counter opinion from can be found in another GV's post written by Bob back in July. The poem is first posted in a sina blog and then re-posted at


In July 1, 2008
Yang Jia appeared in Shanghai
Then he entered the dead history.


Some said that he had killed people
Some said that he had not
His mother cannot be found.
Ask the police officers, they say they don't know,
Ask the court, the court orders you to stay out of trouble.


Very soon, Yang Jia will be sentence to death,
The reason is the killing of 6 Shanghai police officers,
Although we don't know the truth,
Although we learn to keep silence
We can't lie to ourselves that we don't know who is Yang Jia.


For the Shanghai government,
Yang Jia will no long exist in the history
His mother will disappear without a trace.


1.3 billion Chinese people,
how come only Yang Jia's mother is missing,
can we still believe the Shanghai department of justice?


Who is Yang Jia?
This question is too difficult to answer,
Shanghai police officers dare not answer,
Shanghai judges dare not answer,
Shanghai lawyers dare not answer.
For some, whenever they hear Yang Jia's name,
They are frightened.


Who is Yang Jia?
Where is the truth?
Don't know, don't know, we don't know.


Shanghai is big, Shanghai is civilized,
But it still doesn't have space for a open trial for Yang Jia,
But it still doesn't have space for Yang Jia's mother to testify,
But it still doesn't have space for Beijing's lawyer to defend for Yang Jia,
But it still doesn't have space for a about to die person to speak his last word to the public,
Maybe the words are his remorse.


Who is Yang Jia?
Don't be too nosy.
Yang Jia is just a human being,
Among the 1.3 billions
A Han off-spring among the 56 ethnic groups
He comes to this world,
Not yet learn how to remorse,
But already lost his words.
He comes to this world,
With little value,
With little opportunity,
But all have been seized away.


Who is Yang Jia?
Don't care about him anymore,
He is just a human being,
There are too many human being in Shanghai
Who want to save their faces with his death,
To safe their long lost faces.


Who is Yang Jia,
I think we'd better dropped this.
The last question is
Why Yang Jia had chosen to kill?


  • chang

    Yang Jia, a name doomed to be remembered in the Chinese history.
    If there are more men like Yang in China, things will be different.But Chinese people are too tame to confront any wickedness.
    Why? God damn so called Chinese filial piety. When Chinese are born, they are told to be filial and submit themselves to their parents. After they grow up, they are always reminded they own family obligation instead of being encouraged to be independent. So before they make any decision, they get used to consider their families. How can they have the nerve when they think of family obligation? So Chinese will sacrifice anything and put up with any wickedness for his family. Chinese are not born tame and selfish. They are taught to be.
    on this earth, all animals and most human races are taught to be independent after they grow up , and they must leave their parents to set up a home of their own. But Chinese are not. As a Chinese saying goes, “When in hometown you should depend on your parents; when you are outside of hometown you should depend on on your friends”. Chinese are never encouraged to be independent either on thoughts or behaviour.

  • resabambino

    Oh wow that is so sad.

    To all the people who writes they don’t care about who he is and disregard him as like he is trash. How could you disregard a human life like that? Well, not to be rude but when it comes time for you to leave this world I hope that someone will say the same thing to you.

    Who care about him/her because they are just another person in Shanghai.

  • This guy has a point about the family thing. The CCP uses this very acutely to hold onto people firmly. If you get messed up with justice issues in China, the party will not just torture you, they threaten your family and that is what gets people to lay low.

    Falun Gong people seek justice for the whole country and for that, they have to leave their homes and identities behind. Up against the most heinous regime, I don’t know who could do this. This requires an enormous courage and faith in what you believe. Lawyer Gao is an amazing guy, he so strongly believes in real justice, but now, of course, he is being detained and who knows what. Hopefully not too many more heroes will need to sacrifice everything before China has justice.

  • Monk

    OK, so did this guy kill six officers or not? I understand having sympathy for his plight and for the way the Shanghai government handled him and his mother, but killing people is not a very appropriate response.

    And the logic of the Chinese article is pretty crappy.

  • ted

    He killed six police officers in cold blood. Killing one police officer in NY would get you the capital punishment too, let alone six!

    Yang Jia is not a hero, he’s a killer. There is no justification whatsoever for his actions. What about the families that he destroyed, the children whose fathers he killed.

    Life is not fair sometimes (I don’t know whether he stole bikes), but we cannot all just go out and kill people because we don’t like what people think of us.

  • chang

    Why did so many Chinese laud Yang Jia? Because they instead of you foreigners can best understand Yang. I’m sure too many Chinese have been caught in similar situations like Yang.
    You westerners enjoying freedom and democracy just can’t imagine what common Chinese life are like due to lack of human rights in China. Let alone those abused by government officials. As common Chinese, when they face the injustice,they just can’t get justice done. The choices are: revenge like Yang or surrender themselves to the regime.

  • LeoXiao

    This incident was inevitable. I do not agree that Yang should have attacked the police but looking at the entire social situation in China, which is incredibly messed up, people like him are the only ones Chinese can have much hope in anymore.

  • Trodden

    You guys living in other countries don’t really know how ugly the Chinese Government is. When the “justified way” of seeking justice is blocked, what do you expect the common people to do?

  • […] all Chinese who have suffered unjust treatment put on clothing printed with Yang Jia’s portrait and the words: “If you do not give me a statement, then I will give you a […]

  • lang

    Yang Jia is our hero!
    Down with communism! Down with corruption!

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.