A Chinese waitress convicted of killing an official who demanded sex walked free from court Tuesday, after a nationwide Internet campaign hailed her as a heroine for standing up to government sleaze.
In a case that sparked widespread outrage, Deng Yujiao, 21, was put on trial for stabbing to death a local official in central China in May, in what she said was self-defence after he tried to force himself on her sexually.
Deng, a waitress at a hotel in the city of Badong, was initially detained on suspicion of murder after the incident, in which she said the man hit her repeatedly after she refused his advances.
She also stood accused of injuring a second official who had made unwanted sexual advances.
Deng was eventually charged with the lesser offence of intentional assault — still punishable by death, according to the China Daily — as officials caved in to the massive public pressure generated on the Internet.
On Tuesday, Deng walked free despite being found guilty as charged, on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The judge said the court had decided not to punish her as she had used excessive force in an act of self-defence, she had surrendered to the police, and the officials involved in the incident had made a “major mistake”.