fatal road rage incident on the street in Kunshan, Jiangsu province has become the biggest story on Chinese social media this week with millions weighing in on where the limits of self-defense ought to lie.
The incident occurred at an intersection on Monday night at around 9:37 pm. Surveillance camera footage shows a BMW attempting to swerve into a bike-only lane ahead of a red light, bumping up against one cyclist who refuses to give way.
Quickly, two passengers, one man and one woman, exit the car and approach the cyclist. The woman helps the cyclist, a 41-year-old man surnamed Yu, move his electric bike to the sidewalk. After talking for a time, the two head back to the BMW.
However, it’s then that the driver, a 36-year-old man surnamed Liu, storms out of the vehicle and heads straight for Yu. Though the male passenger tries to hold him back, Liu continues to try to attack Yu. Eventually, Liu returns to his car and reemerges with a machete.
This time, the passenger does not try to get in the way as Liu rushes at Yu and takes a number of swipes. Yu holds his ground long enough for the machete to get knocked out of Liu’s hand, falling on the road. The two men both scramble to pick up the weapon, however, it is Yu that gets to it first.
With the machete in hand, Yu is able to throw Liu to the ground and slice once at his stomach. Liu then gets up and tries to run back to his car. Yu chases him, slashing at his opponent at least another four times.
When police arrived at the scene, Yu was reportedly still holding the machete while Liu was near death. Both men were rushed to the hospital. Yu suffered injuries in the confrontation, but none of them life-threatening. Doctors were unable to save Liu’s life.
At this time, a Weibo hashtag regarding this story has accumulated more than 800 million views and 540,000 comments with legal experts and net users from around China discussing and debating over whether Liu’s death was a case of reasonable self-defense or needless murder.
In general, Weibo users are firmly on Yu’s side, noting that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack who was defending his own life. However, experts are more divided, pointing out that after gaining control of the weapon, Yu did not retreat, but instead went on the counter-attack. Others argue that Yu was justified in pursuing Liu to the car as it would be reasonable to believe that Liu might have another weapon inside.
Yu’s case has been helped in the eyes of the public by subsequent revelations about Liu. It turns out that Liu had a lengthy criminal record including four prison sentences for crimes including theft, assault, extortion, and destruction of property. However, he was also revealed to have received a reward earlier this year for tipping off authorities about a drug-trafficking operation.
Photos have gone viral online showing a shirtless Liu with tattoos across his upper body:
As well as images of Yu’s face after his fight with Liu:
Yu has been detained by police while the local prosecutor’s office has announced that it has launched an investigation into the matter. Whatever the final verdict may be, the state-run People’s Daily has cautioned netizens to accept the court’s judgment and rule of law.