He Qinglian, Chinese author and economist, Via The Epochtimes -
On April 28, Zheng Mingsheng was sentenced to death for randomly stabbing a group of primary school students waiting to enter their school in southern China’s city of Nanping in Fujian Province. Nine children lost their lives in the incident.
Within three days of Zheng Mingsheng’s execution, three more attacks targeting school children took place in China.
Venting anger against society
The prosecutor investigating the Fujian case concluded the assailant was venting his “anger against society.” The topic of the criminal’s “anti-social tendency” received extensive coverage in Chinese media.
An article published by Nanfang Weekly pointed out that the local government never mentioned the possibility of the killer being a mental patient; neither was that possibility mentioned in official “guiding” of reporting on the issue.
Public opinion on Chinese Internet forums ran that social injustice in China is pushing the lowest strata of society into acts of desperation.
A photo that spread on the Internet showed a banner parents put up in front of a primary school. The banner read, “Every debt has its debtor. Ahead, on the right, is the government office.” The board was asking assailants to settle their grievances directly with the government and not vent them on innocent school children.
Following the three consecutive attacks that shook China, media lost the freedom it had when reporting the first case. All of the reporting on the issue had to echo state-run Xinhua News and the local administrative bodies declined to disclose the assailants’ personal details.
One of the murderers, Chen Bingkang from Leizhou in Guangdong Province, was, according to some reports, a serious neurasthenia patient on long-term sick leave.
Regarding the incidents in Weifang, Shangdong Province, and Taixing, Jiangsu Province, there was little information available on the murderers other than from official outlets.
Articles in the media also changed their tone. A signed article by Cao Lin was posted on almost all news websites. The article’s central theme was that people should abandon the notion that crimes “avenging society” bespeak of flaws in the social justice system.
Other articles stressed that media should not report “just because there is news.” A lot of people carry resentment against the social system, and it may lead people to imitate the crime, the authors argued. Others commented that the attackers are blaming others for their misfortune and using violence to trigger social attention to their personal problems. The initial discussions on the cause of the crimes had not made the regime take a good look at itself. Instead the blame was eventually diverted to media reports causing “crime imitation.” Perpetuating such an opinion provided the regime grounds to further clampdown on freedom of the press.
Exposing the regime
Media functions to draw the public’s attention to social problems. With open debate, in the absence of political interference, the media could help people distinguish right from wrong and heal social wounds. The moral condemnation of wrong keeps people from crime.
It is hard to imagine how painful a social indifference created by lack of sufficient news coverage would be for the victims’ families. After the incident in Taixing, tens of thousands of local residents demonstrated on the streets, demanding that the local administration stop covering up the truth.
Why then, did the regime restrict coverage on the murder incidents after April 28?
“Prevention of crime imitation” seems to function merely as an excuse for further controlling the media. What the regime worries about is that an investigation into the motives behind the killings would lead to an exposé of problems the regime itself created and its policies continue to fuel. Even from the limited information available, it seems the incidents have backgrounds that the regime does not want disclosed.
Reports said that prior to committing the crime, the assailant, Chen Bingkang, had been requested to stop teaching and was put on long-term sick leave by his employer, Hongfu Primary School. Mainland media reported that insiders believe Chen committed the crime for revenge. Were there reasons why Chen couldn’t accept the school authorities’ decision asking him to stop teaching? If “revenge” were the motive, why did Chen choose a different school (Leicheng No.1 Primary School) as his target, instead of his own school?
Reports of the case of assailant Wang Yonglai in Weifang, also leave room for such questions. After killing five children, Wang set himself on fire along with another two children. Such behavior cannot simply be explained away as something aimed at “attracting social attention. “
An online post, Wang Yonglai’s Self-immolation: The Secret You Don’t Know, by a person who claims know the truth about the situation, says Wang was not mentally unstable, and that the local regime had forcibly demolished Wang’s newly finished house and accused him of illegally occupying his land. The post says that Wang had registered the property with village authorities. Wang had not been given any compensation when his property was forcibly taken away. (post on China Health Information Net)
Reports on the attack in Taixing were strictly controlled from the beginning. Media were required to use only reports from the regime’s mouthpiece, Xinhua News Agency. And the official story differed dramatically from local people’s versions. Authorities claimed the murderer, Xu Yuyuan, “was a bad guy who had done plenty of bad things.” But locals say that Xu committed the crime after being forced into a state of desperation by the forced demolition of his home.
While all these may have to be verified, the recent incident in Fujian Province in which three bloggers were sentenced to imprisonment for attempting to uncover an alleged gang rape and murder case shows what the regime is capable of.
Random individuals targeted
To stop such crimes, the criminal’s motive has to be understood. Whether the killings were triggered by unemployment or by forced demolition, these are problems that Chinese society cannot choose to ignore. In his article titled “2009 Forced Demolition File,” Southern Metropolis Daily journalist Tan Renwei writes, “I witnessed an increase in the threshold of news reporting on forced demolitions (below the threshold, the incident would not get reported). Recently, it seems only the self-immolation could trigger media attention.”
But apparently all these have had no impact on the authorities. No proper investigation was done and no action has been taken against any official in China despite the fact that the self-immolation incident seems directly connected to the forced demolitions. If even such an incident could not awaken the authorities, it is not difficult to see why some, in desperation, are driven to such vicious acts.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an unemployed worker from the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, Tang Yongming, murdered an American tourist and committed suicide by jumping off a building. The “reason” he gave was that only killing a foreigner was likely to draw the world’s attention to problems in China, according to a report from Boxun.com.
It seems apparent that the four attacks targeting innocent school children are a result of a long-term accumulation of hostility, bred by official policies of the regime. From the end of the last century, China has increasingly been turning into a society with no laws. The violent crimes committed by the government in the name of “law enforcement” are no less barbarian than mafia crimes, with people often beaten to death by city administration officials and police.
The land acquisition process in rural areas degenerates into battles between villagers and local armed forces. Forced demolition in the urban areas is met with desperate and violent resistance and is crushed with even greater violence.
Although there have been cases of individuals acting violently against the police and the authorities who put them into misery, in most incidents the piled up resentment and anger seem to have broken out in random acts of violence against susceptible innocents.
A “winner takes all” social structure, formed by a group of degenerated politicians attempting to control all social resources to serve their self interests, is at the root of these problems. Tyranny only fosters mobs. Just as the regime’s political violence seems to have no bottom line, the crimes in today’s Chinese society seem to have no moral bottom line. (END)