On August 11, 2006, Cui Yingjie (崔英杰), a migrant street peddler in Haidian Distrcit, Beijing, got into a fight with Haidian’s chengguan [officials in charge of checking business licenses, enforcing street order, and executing urban control duties] and killed Li Zhiqiang by accident. Cui Yingjie was sentenced to death later last year.
During the trial of Cui Yingjie, a video made by a chengguan in charge of publicity, was shown in the courtroom. At the time of enforcement, according to the footage, Cui was surrounded by more than ten chengguan and brandishing his small knife in utter shock and awe. He then was seen on his knees, begging the chengguan not to take away his tricycle away, which he just bought the day before. His beseeching was ignored and in the hustle, Cui stabbed Li Zhiqiang, who later died from the injuries. While Cui was going through the trial, Li was publicized as a martyr. This trial and the subsequent death sentence have triggered a raging debate on rule of law and justice in China and if Cui should be put to death because he had killed an official regardless of the circumstances. Lu Ning, a famous Chinese newspaper commentator, argued that had the Chinese people seen the footage of Cui’s last minutes, they would not allow him to be executed. He also said even Chiang Kai-shek did not attempt to get rid of street peddlers when he was at the peak of tyrannical power. There are many things to watch here:
a) Will public opinion make a difference (as in the case of Liu Yong, a mobster in Liaoning whose death with reprieve was reversed into a straight death sentence, at the direct intervention of China’s Supreme Court; Luo Gan was rumored to have said, people have spoken and we need to follow their will)?
b) How will China’s supreme court review this case as all death sentences must now be reviewed by the highest court in the nation?
c) What implication will this have on the tension between maintaining urban order and migrant workers seeking a living?
d) Will the Chinese government try to expel all migrants from Beijing when the Olympics Games are in town next summer? For details of this case in Chinese, please check out: È≤ÅÂÆÅÔºöÂ¥îËã±Êù∞ÁΩ™‰∏çËØ•ÊùÄ and all the articles at the end of this one.