Under-attack cyclist stabs BMW driver to death, China debates self-defence
Chinese social media users were sharply divided on the definition of self-defence after a cyclist stabbed to death a BMW driver who had attacked him with a knife following an altercation on the road.
The incident occurred last week in the eastern city of Kunshan in Jiangsu province and was captured on surveillance cameras.
The cyclist named Yu had an argument with the driver of the BMW, a man identified only as Liu, after he was almost knocked over by the ca. Liu rushed back to his car, pulled out a knife and attacked Yu.
In the ensuing scuffle, Liu lost his knife and then his life, after Yu picked up the weapon and stabbed him to death.
Until the point of being attacked with the knife, Yu is seen moving backwards and attempting to avoid being hit. Yu remained at the scene until police arrived.
Hundreds of thousands of social media users commented on the video, saying either Yu had the right to self-defence, or that he crossed the limit by attacking the BMW driver when he was on the run.
Legal experts weighed in on the debate.
Lawyer Bao Hua told Beijing News it was justifiable for Yu to fight Liu off, but that continuing to chase and attack him opened Yu up to charges of causing intentional injury.
Shanghai-based lawyer Deng Xueping said that “having been stabbed five times as he ran to his car, Liu was unlikely to have posed an ongoing risk to Yu, and so the final attack by the cyclist could be considered excessive”.
The opposite argument could seem just as persuasive.
“For (cyclist) Yu, the sense of uneasiness still existed, regardless of the fact that he had taken control of the knife. Considering that his opponent is aggressive, the offensive mentality of searching for other tools to fight could not be ruled out,” Ruan Qilin, a criminal law expert at China University of Political Science and Law, told China Plus website.
Public opinion could be swinging in favour of the cyclist after it emerged that the dead man had been to jail a few times.
State-run Global Times tabloid said net users were hailing Yu as a Robin Hood-like figure.
“The judge will certainly take public opinion into consideration in its verdict…a fair verdict should be consistent with the public’s wish, not against it,” lawyer Ruan said.