Chinese student gets death for murder that sparked uproar | Reuters

Chinese student getsdeath for murder that sparked uproar | Reuters.

Chinese student gets death for murder that sparked uproar

(Reuters) – A Chinese court sentenced a university student to death Friday for killing a waitress to cover up a hit-and-run accident, in a case that sparked uproar over the perceived indifference of the rich to the less well-off.

China has been struggling to address anger at a yawning rich-poor gap, and there have been several widely publicized cases of affluent young people thumbing their noses at authority after traffic accidents with pedestrians, cyclists or farmers.

In this case, Yao Jiaxin, 21 and a student at the Xian Conservatory of Music, said he killed the victim in the capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi last October to prevent her from reporting the hit-and-run to police.

The Xian Intermediate People’s Court also ordered Yao to pay about 45,500 yuan ($7,000) in compensation to the bereaved family of Zhang Miao, a worker at a university cafeteria, the official Xinhua news agency said.

There was an outpouring of online sympathy for the 26-year-old victim, the mother of a two-year-old boy, though Yao’s classmates had packed the courtroom and demanded leniency.

Yao also knocked down two pedestrians when he fled the scene of the crime.

Accompanied by his parents, Yao surrendered to police two days after the murder. Xinhua quoted Yao as saying he killed his victim because he feared “the peasant woman would be hard to deal with” and demand a lot in compensation.

The case attracted even more attention after state media was perceived to be defending Yao.

Chinese media had interviewed a psychologist who said Yao was forced to learn the piano by his parents and used to smash piano keys to vent his anger. The psychologist went on to say Yao’s behavior of stabbing the victim eight times may have been a “mechanical repetition” of him smashing piano keys.

“The motive was extremely despicable,” Xinhua cited the court as saying in its verdict. “The measure was extremely cruel … and the consequence extremely serious.”

China’s stability-obsessed authorities increasingly look to the Internet as a barometer of public opinion and have revisited controversial court or government decisions in the past in response to online complaints.

(Reporting by Benjamin Lim; Editing by Ben Blanchard)

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