Police in Kunshan, East China’s Jiangsu province, won applause on China’s internet on Saturday for dismissing a controversial case about a man who fought back against his attacker and stabbed that man to death following a traffic spat.
After a thorough probe, Kunshan police and prosecutors said that the man’s behaviour constitutes justifiable self-defence and should be exempted from criminal responsibility.
Legal experts said it could be considered a milestone case in China as in the past, such cases were usually considered as excessive self-defence in which those who fought back should bear criminal punishment.
On Monday, the man, Yu Haiming, was waiting at a traffic light in the non-motorized vehicle lane when a BMW sedan driven by Liu Hailong veered into his lane. The two sides quarrelled before Liu pushed and kicked Yu. He retrieved a 59-centimetre-long knife from the car later and slashed it at Yu several times.
Yu grabbed the knife before Liu after it was knocked to the ground. He then stabbed Liu in the abdomen, buttocks, right chest, left shoulder and left elbow. The whole process lasted seven seconds, according to a police report.
The injured Liu ran toward the car and Yu tried to stab him two more times but missed. Yu grabbed Liu’s cell phone from the car and handed it and the knife to the police when they arrived at the scene, claiming that he acted to prevent Liu from calling his friends for revenge.
Liu, 36, died after the attack and the 41-year-old Yu suffered two wounds that were not life-threatening.
Kunshan police said that after careful investigation, Yu’s behaviour constitutes justifiable self-defence.
They said that according to China’s Criminal Law, what Liu did should be identified as committing physical assault and that his assault was an ongoing process.
“The defender cannot be demanded excessively to make rational judgments in case of emergency,” the report said. “Let alone to judge the case by the injuries that the defender suffers. The specific scene and the cognitive level of the general public should be taken into consideration to judge the case.”
It also said that the drunken Liu’s behaviour seriously endangered Yu’s safety, and his behaviour kept escalating. He did not give up hurting Yu after he was injured, so Yu’s life was at risk during the whole process.
Yu’s chasing Liu and stabbing Liu two times in vain was a continuous act of his justifiable self-defence, it confirmed.
Kunshan police added that another man in the car, who participated in beating Yu, will be detained for 10 days.