Sympathy for Waitress who Stabbed Official

Deng Yujiao (邓玉娇), a waitress in Badong County of Hubei Province, stabbed an official after he made unsolicited sexual advances toward her. The official later died en route to the hospital. It is unknown what Deng’s legal fate will be. Many netizens have expressed support for Deng.

From the China Internet Information Center (china.org.cn):

Deng Guida, the 44-year-old victim, was director of the business promotion office of Yesanguan Town in Badong County of Hubei Province.

[...] Deng visited an entertainment venue with Huang [Dezhi] and another colleague about 7:30pm on Sunday after drinking alcohol, police said.

The three found Deng Yujiao and asked her if she offered “special services,” which are normally understood to be sex services in Chinese.

After attempting to resist Deng Guida and his colleagues, Deng Yujiao then stabbed Deng Guida three times and slashed his colleage Huang Dezhi once.

From Global Times:

Deng Yujiao was sent to a hospital in the Enshi Autonomous Prefecture yesterday for a mental-health checkup after anti-depression medication was found in her luggage, sources in Enshi told the Global Times yesterday.

Rage over the officials’ alleged actions, and sympathy for Deng Yujiao, has blanketed many news portals. As of yesterday evening, more than 50,000 online users had written comments on Sina.com, a popular forum in China.

[...] However, a law professor at Beijing Normal University told the Global Times on the condition of anonymity that because she killed a man, Deng Yujiao is unable to avoid being punished under Chinese law.

“But the punishment may be mitigated, given the conditions of justifiable self-defense,” the professor said.

Xu Zhiyong, a law lecturer at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, had a different opinion, saying the woman’s actions could be regarded as justifiable, exempting her from any crime.

In his own blog, Xu Zhiyong explores Deng Yujiao’s case. Two entries devoted to the topic were posted on May 14 and May 16. As regards the question of self-defense, Xu notes Article 20 of China’s penal code:

Article 20. Criminal responsibility is not to be borne for an act of legitimate defense that is under taken to stop present unlawful infringement of the state’s and public interest or the rights of the person, property or other rights of the actor or of other people and that causes harm to the unlawful infringer.

Criminal responsibility shall be borne where legitimate defense noticeably exceeds the necessary limits and causes great harm. However, consideration shall be given to imposing a mitigated punishment or to granting exemption from punishment.

Criminal responsibility is not to be borne for a defensive act undertaken against ongoing physical assault, murder, robbery, rape, kidnap, and other violent crimes that seriously endanger personal safety that causes injury or death to the unlawful infringer since such an act is not an excessive defense.

Nevertheless, Deng Yujiao’s legal fate still remains an open question.

Deng Yujiao’s story has been compared to the famous Yang Jia case, though they differ in one important aspect: Deng Yujiao’s stabbing was done out of self-defense, whereas Yang Jia’s stabbing was considered manslaughter.

Read more about the case at South China Morning Post (pay site).

May 16, 2009 3:14 PM
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Categories: Society