The swift execution of Yao Jiaxin, 21, who studied at the prestigious Xi'an Conservatory of Music, comes after a public outpouring of anger at a case that was widely perceived as an example of the Chinese élite's assumption of impunity. It followed several cases of well-connected drivers escaping censure over dangerous driving. Yao – who was not from an especially rich or powerful family – ran over Zhang Miao, a 26-year-old waitress, in his Chevrolet Cruze as she cycled home from work. Fearing Zhang, who has a child, would remember his number plate and report him to the police, he stabbed her eight times.
This week, Yao was executed for the murder in the capital of north-west China's Shaanxi province. The Xi'an Intermediate People's Court handed down the death sentence for intentional killing on 22 April. Yao's appeal was rejected by the Shaanxi Provincial Higher People's Court on 20 May.
As part of new efforts to reduce the number of death sentences meted out, the Supreme People's Court reviews every death sentence before execution. "Yao, after running into the victim, stabbed the victim's chest, stomach and back several times until she died. His motive was extremely despicable, his actions extremely cruel and the consequences extremely severe," said a statement from the court as quoted by the Xinhua news agency.
The case has caused a major sensation on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of the banned Twitter, with more than a million micro-blog postings mentioning the execution. The Communist Party is keenly aware that the biggest cause of social unrest, and the most serious threat to its single-party rule, is a feeling among the common people that the "second generation rich", China's army of newly wealthy, abuse their privileged positions at the expense of the peasantry.
Read more about Yao Jixin's case via CDT. This news comes on the same day that the truck driver who hit and killed a Mongolian shepherd was sentenced to death.