Wrong for people to praise killings
to police in Hanzhong, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, last week, two days after stabbing to death three male members of a neighboring family. Beijing News comments:
The man, Zhang Koukou, allegedly stabbed the men to take revenge for his mother, who died on the way to hospital after a scuffle between members of the two families in 1996. The neighbors had been quarreling over land for construction, and Zhang, who was 13 at the time, witnessed his mother’s death.
Many netizens have praised Zhang, calling him a chivalrous hero because he took lives of his mother’s “killers”, and spared the lives of others in the Wang family.
The youngest son of the Wang family, who was 39 when he was killed, was sentenced to eight years in prison for striking Zhang’s mother on the head with a wooden pickaxe handle during the scuffle that led to her death. The court also ruled the Wang family compensate the Zhang family 42,000 yuan ($6,620) for their loss. But the Wang family was too poor to afford that much, and it only managed to pay about 9,600 yuan, to which the court was amenable.
The villagers who witnessed the original fight and
the court’s written judgment all agreed that Zhang’s mother started the spat by spitting in the face of the young Wang, who was 17 and playing by himself near his home. Zhang’s mother also struck the first blow by hitting the young man on head with an iron rod twice.
That both the Zhang and Wang families accepted the court’s judgment indicates that justice was served, and the case should have been laid to rest long ago. According to the villagers, the two families had not quarreled since then. Zhang, who has not returned to his hometown for several years, came back as an unemployed migrant worker, and staged the attack in broad daylight in front of many witnesses.
Zhang’s surrendering to the police and sparing the lives of the other family members does not change the fact that he killed three people with malice aforethought. It is up to the court to decide his punishment, but he deserves no praise.