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Police Notification: Fatal Stabbing in Kunshan Road-Rage Incident Ruled Self-Defense

The Kunshan road-rage incident is the biggest topic on Chinese social media this week. Police now state that the cyclist who killed his attacker is acquitted, ruling the controversial stabbing as ‘self-defense.’

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With more than 880 million 1.8 billion views, it was the biggest topic of this week on Chinese social media: the Kunshan road-rage incident with a bizarre twist, in which the cyclist being attacked by a BMW driver with a knife, ended up killing the man with his own weapon. Police have now ruled the case self-defense.

According to a police statement released on Saturday afternoon, September 1st, the bike rider who fatally stabbed the BMW driver who attacked him has handled out of self-defense. (We reported about this case earlier this week here).

The statement was published on the official Weibo account of the Kunshan police (@昆山公安), and received over 77,000 shares within an hour.

On Weibo, netizens are happy about the news; the majority of people sided with the cyclist, a 41-year-old hotel worker by the name of Yu Haiming (于海明). Some people even organized crowd-funding campaigns to help pay for his legal costs, and the past week has seen a flood of memes about the incident in support of the cyclist.

 

Bizarre Road-Rage Incident

 

The incident occurred on the night of August 27, when a BMW vehicle in Kunshan, Jiangsu, turned into a bike line, colliding with the cyclist who refused to give way. Two men then stepped out of their BMW vehicle to confront the cyclist, with one man going back to his vehicle, suddenly pulling out a long knife.

Surveillance videos [YouTube link] capture the moment, which show how the muscular and tattooed BMW driver attacks Yu with the big knife – but then suddenly loses grip and drops the knife on the ground.

Bike driver (white shirt) is attacked by the BMW driver with a knife.

That is the pivotal moment when Yu quickly grabs the knife and starts attacking the BMW driver. Various videos show how the bike driver runs after the man, hitting and stabbing him with the knife at least five or six times – eventually killing him.

The bike driver hits the BMW driver with the knife for the fifth time.

The BMW driver turned out to be the somewhat notorious Liu Hailong (刘海龙) aka ‘Brother Long’ (龙哥) a 36-year-old ex-convict who previously spent years in prison for robbery, theft, and another knifing incident.

Liu Hailong aka ‘Brother Long’

He had been drinking the night of the incident.

 

“Brother Long Terminator”

 

The topic was a trending topic on Chinese social media all week, which a main question being: To what degree is self-defence legitimate?

One of the cartoons that has been published on this incident past week.

Some lawyers quoted in various news articles (read our report here) alleged that Yu might be held responsible for intentional injury and death, since the video footage showed that Liu tried to get away once Yu came after him with the knife – making the stabbing incident one of attack instead of defense.

The fact that Yu stabbed his attacker many times (the video shows at least six instances) was also considered to go beyond self-defense, making it possible for him to face up to ten years in prison.

But as more information about the case emerged, most netizens concluded that ex-con ‘Brother Long’ had deserved his own death.

The 41-year-old Yu, who is known as a hard-working man with no criminal records, was even called the “Brother Long Terminator” by some, who compared the incident to a video game in which the main character defeats his enemy with his own knives.

 

Detailed Report Rules Legitimate Self-Defense

 

According to the police statement that was issued today, in the first moments of the violent stabbing, cyclist Yu was stabbed in the neck, waist, and leg by Liu. Once Yu succeeded in grabbing the machete, he stabbed Liu Hailong in the abdomen, buttocks, right chest, left shoulder, and left elbow.

The moment Yu has grabbed the knife and attacks Liu, stabbing him five times in seven seconds.

The BMW driver then flees the scene and falls into a grass field some 30 meters away from the car. (This image on YouTube shows Liu in the grass with severe injuries- viewer discretion is advised). Meanwhile, Yu has stopped his pursuit and turns to the BMW vehicle to take out Liu’s mobile phone, out of fear that Liu or others might call other people for reinforcement in the attack.

When police arrived at the scene, Yu immediately handed them over the mobile phone and the weapon, which has since been identified as a sharp-edged double-sided blade with a total length of 59 cm.

Liu Hailong was soon taken to the hospital but died that same night. Yu did not sustain any life-threatening injuries.

Forensic researchers have now found that in the first seven seconds in which Yu stabbed Liu with the knife he grabbed from the ground, he stabbed him a total of five times, of which the first stab might have been the most lethal one; stabbing him in the left abdomen, causing the large abdominal vein to rupture. The fact that the first strike allegedly was the lethal one might have also helped in the self-defense ruling.

“The behavior of Yu Haiming is [ruled as] legitimate defense and he does not bear criminal responsibility,” the police notifiation states, in accordance with Article 20 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China that defines self-defense.

The statement also says that Yu’s personal safety was “seriously endangered” when Liu Hailong first attacked him with his bare hands, and then continued to hit him with a knife. It suggests that throughout the incident, Yu was constantly in danger – even when he had the knife – thereby denying any claims that Yu’s actions were excessive and illegal.

The police report further reveals that BMW driver Liu was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 87mg/100ml (0.087).

The night of the incident, there were three other passengers in the BMW car. One of them, the male passenger who can be seen first getting out of the car in the video, gets a ten-day prison sentence for his involvement in the incident. The two other passengers, both female, have been acquitted.

Besides being happy about the ruling, many netizens also praise the Kunshan police for their work. “I’ve never seen such a detailed police report, thumbs up for Kunshan police!”, some commenters write.

image via 野望文存-财经

“It’s a good thing we have surveillance cameras nowadays,” another person says: “Ten years ago, he might have been held responsible.”

Others write: “Wonderful news, justice has prevailed! This restores some faith among the common people.”

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Stories that are authored by the What's on Weibo Team are the stories that multiple authors contributed to. Please check the names at the end of the articles to see who the authors are.

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China Local News

Knife-Wielding Woman Goes on Rampage at Guixi Primary School

Shortly after the incident, videos and photos began circulating on WeChat, showing young children covered in blood on the ground.

Manya Koetse

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A woman in Guixi, a county-level city in Jiangxi’s Yingtan, has been taken into custody after stabbing people at a primary school on Monday, May 20, around noon. The incident resulted in at least two fatalities and left ten others injured.

Shortly after the incident, videos and photos began circulating on WeChat, showing young children covered in blood on the ground, victims of the woman’s stabbing rampage at the Mingde Primary School in Guixi’s Wenfang.

The incident immediately attracted significant attention on Weibo, where netizens not only commented on the tragedy of innocent children being involved in such a horrific crime but also on the unusual fact that the suspect is female; as typically, perpetrators of such crimes are male.

Others also questioned why the school security guards were not present to prevent such an incident and how the woman managed to gain access to the school grounds in the first place.

The 45-year-old female suspect is a native of Guixi. It’s reported that she used a paring knife to carry out the stabbing attack on the school premises.

Shortly after the incident, local authorities called on blood donation centers in Guixi to extend their opening hours, and local residents started queuing up to donate blood to help out the victims who are still being treated for their injuries.

Another question that lingers is why the woman would commit such an atrocious crime. People suggest it is bàofù shèhuì (报复社会), a Chinese term that translates to “retaliate against society” or “taking revenge on society.”

Baofu shehui is often cited as a type of criminal motivation for knife-wielding incidents in China, particularly those occurring at schools, where individuals with personal grievances and/or mental health issues commit these extreme crimes. Such incidents have happened multiple times in the past, notably between 2010 and 2012, during a series of elementary school and kindergarten attacks.

Different from these kinds of attacks in Europe or the US, it often involves older perpetrators who are disillusioned, frustrated, and alienated from their communities amid rapidly changing social and economic conditions in China.

But for many netizens, such a possible motivation does not make sense. Some commenters wrote: “Taking revenge on society should never be done by venting one’s anger against children.”

Others wish the worst upon the perpetrator. One popular comment says, “I hope she gets the death penalty, and that the victims’ families get to execute her.”

By Manya Koetse

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China Insight

Red Cross Society of China in Bad Light Due to Online Rumors after Gansu Earthquake

Even though the rumors surrounding the Red Cross might be false, the public concerns surrounding charity efforts are real.

Manya Koetse

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A handwarmer for 500 yuan ($70), a tent for 2200 yuan ($308), a blanket for 100 yuan ($14)? An online list detailing items supposedly procured by the Gansu Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts has ignited controversy on Chinese social media in recent days. Although the Red Cross has denied all rumors, the incident underscores public skepticism towards the organization.

After the devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Jishishan (积石山), a county in China’s Gansu Province’s Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, on December 18, Chinese social media platforms were flooded with news related to the disaster. The overnight earthquake killed at least 148 people and left hundreds injured.

News of the earthquake resonated deeply throughout the country, and the ongoing search and rescue operations and relief efforts, hindered by landslides, ruined infrastructure, and freezing temperatures, have attracted major attention online.

While much of the discourse revolves around the goodness of the people contributing to charities and doing all they can to help victims in the affected areas, there is also public distrust surrounding the motives of some charities or helping organizations that might use the disaster as an opportunity to make a profit.

One hotly debated topic revolves around the Red Cross Society of China, after a list surfaced online of items allegedly purchased by the Gansu Red Cross for relief efforts in the aftermath of the Gansu Earthquake.

Image published on Weibo via Red Cross Society of China (@中国红十字会总会).

The procurement list raised controversy due to the high prices of the common items listed, and because of a supposed “management fee” (管理费) of 1.6 million yuan ($224k).

In response, the Red Cross refuted these claims, asserting that they had not issued any such list (#甘肃红十字称没发布任何物资清单#). On December 24, the Gansu Red Cross took to Weibo (@甘肃省红十字会) to clarify that the circulating information was “grossly inaccurate.” They assured the public that all donations would directly aid earthquake relief efforts, without incurring management fees.

The Red Cross statement on Weibo.

Even though the procurement list might be false, the public concerns surrounding charity efforts are real.

“Why does the Red Cross end up in the top trending lists every time?” one commenter wondered: “Their information should be more transparent and timely.”

Others also suggested that merely denying the rumors was not enough, and that they hoped that the Red Cross would provide more details and information to show netizens, of whom many donated money, how their charity money is being spent to help relief efforts in the affected areas in Gansu and Qinghai.

The fact that the Red Cross Weibo post did not allow any commenting did not help: “Why are you afraid to let us openly discuss this?”

 
Red Cross Society of China: Tainted by Suspicion
 

The Red Cross of China, the nation’s largest charitable organization, continues to grapple with a tarnished reputation that partly stems from the 2011 “Guo Meimei Incident.”

Guo Meimei (郭美美), whose real name is Guo Meiling, became an infamous internet celebrity in the summer of 2011 after flaunting her excessive wealth online whilst claiming to work as a “commercial general manager” for the Red Cross Society of China.

The issue severely eroded the society’s credibility, which has been designated by the government as the central public donation organization during times of disasters (Cheng 2016). From luxury handbags to sports cars, the 19-year-old Guo showed off her money on Weibo, and quickly went viral on various message boards as people were angered over corruption and potential misuse of charity money.

Guo Meimei

Despite efforts by the Red Cross Society to debunk these rumors and distance itself from Guo, speculations persisted. Many speculated about Guo’s potential ties to the organization, even if she did not officially work there. As highlighted by Cheng (2016), the public’s negative sentiment toward the Red Cross triggered “a chain of credibility crises” and even spread to other charitable groups in China.

During the 2020 Wuhan Covid outbreak, the Red Cross faced scrutiny for allegedly stockpiling public donations of medical supplies in warehouses rather than promptly distributing them to frontline medical personnel facing shortages.

The current allegations against the Red Cross of China in the aftermath of the Gansu Earthquake also echo other past controversies, such as the one they dealt with after the 2008 Sichuan quake. Red Cross officials were then also accused of misusing donations by purchasing needlessly expensive tents and vehicles.

 
Donations for the ‘Underdog’: The Han Hong Foundation
 

The growing public distrust towards the Red Cross has arguably paved the way for other Chinese charities to gain prominence. A prime example is the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation (韩红爱心慈善基金会), established in 2012 by renowned Chinese folk singer Han Hong (韩红, 1971).

Although Han Hong has been engaged in charity for many years, during which she invested a lot of her own money, the charity she established became more known after the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation was committed to aid efforts during the Wuhan Covid outbreak in 2020 and the Henan floods in 2021.

Han Hong (center), picture via Xiaohongshu fan of Han Hong.

After the earthquake in Gansu on December 18th, Han Hong’s organization immediately organized rescue teams and provided people in the affected areas with clothes and (medical) supplies. Hang Hong was able to rake in millions thanks to her reputation of being compassionate and altruistic, as well as through her strong network in China’s entertainment industry, leading numerous Chinese celebrities to support her relief efforts.

But Han Hong’s organization is also affected by the public distrust surrounding charity in China. On December 23, it was rumored that her Charity Foundation was officially asked to leave the disaster area as well as to hand over a portion of their donations.

The foundation refuted these claims by issuing a statement on December 25 (#韩红基金会辟谣#).

Statement by Han Hong Love Charity Foundation refuting rumors that their charity work was hindered by officials.

In the public view, there seems to be a big difference between perceptions of large entities like the Red Cross and other ‘official’ charitable organizations versus smaller, more independent initiatives like the Han Hong foundation, which operates as a private charitable entity.

Reflecting on the rumors surrounding both the Red Cross and Han Hong’s foundation, one Weibo commenter noted: “These rumors come into existence because so many of these so-called charitable foundations actually treat charity as their business. And so, they become ‘competitors.’”

Meanwhile, Han Hong’s organization stresses that it operates under the guidance and oversight of the party and government, and only provide emergency support through their support.

In online discussions on the power of the Red Cross versus Han Hong’s organization, some commenters suggest that it is time for the government and authorities to reflect on why a private organization would be more trusted than the Red Cross, a government organized NGO.

One Weibo commenter wrote: “What Han Hong does is true charity instead of business.” Another person replied: “The biggest disaster here is actually the erosion of public trust.”

By Manya Koetse

References

Cheng, Yang. 2016. “Social Media Keep Buzzing! A Test of Contingency Theory in China’s Red Cross Credibility Crisis.” International Journal of Communication, June 2016: pp. 3241+.

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