Tue, May 12, 2009
China > Mainland

Death on pedestrian walkway sparks loathing on rich, young driver

2009-05-12 12:42:35 GMT2009-05-12 20:42:35 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HANGZHOU, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Traffic police in east China's Hangzhou City were ordered Tuesday to deal strictly with speeders, usually by rich men in the city, after a young man was killed on a pedestrian walkway sparking public outcry.

Wang Guoping, the city's Party chief, said "the management of a city should guarantee safety and peace for its residents. The young man's death on a downtown crossing showed we were not doing well."

Wang demanded traffic police take every possible measure to fight against speed driving and illegal auto refitting, days after Mayor Cai Qi called the accident "appalling."

Tang Zuo, 25, was hit Thursday evening by a speeding Mitsubishi sports car driven by a 20-year-old university student surnamed Hu. Tang flew five meters into the air before hitting the ground and died.

Friends and colleagues described Tang as a diligent and kind man. He was about to marry his girlfriend in the near future.

Hu is from a rich family that owns four cars and drove a sports car to attend classes in a Hangzhou college, which is not often seen in China.

He has come under fierce criticism from the public and was detained on the suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

The public was angered about Hu because he was racing with two friends on a downtown highway, without thinking about the safety of pedestrians, which Hu also admitted to police.

What fueled the public anger was that a photo by a local newspaper showed the two friends in the race were kidding with each other, as if nothing special had happened, after they came to the site after the accident happened.

Thousands of residents in the city gathered at the site of the accident on the following evening, holding white candles to mourn the victim. Many wrote to the municipal government demanding an end to drag racing in the city.

Fang Ting, a psychologist in Zhejiang University, said the race by a tiny number of rich people in downtown showed they were getting too big for their britches, caring only about their own amusement at the expense of the lives of others and relevant laws.

"Some young and rich people tend to believe they can handle everything with money, which is a terrible way of thinking. The reaction from the public is a result of the pursuit for public fairness and justice and concerns about the emerging unfairness," said Fang.

Hu faces a one-month detention or up to three years in jail if convicted. The level of punishment depends on how fast he was driving.

Police in Hangzhou said Friday Hu was driving at 70 km per hour on the road with a maximum speed limit of 50 km per hour. However, many people doubted how the victim could be knocked five meters high by a car at 70 km per hour.

Han Han, a popular writer and racer, wrote in his blog that he believed Hu was driving at 100-130 km per hour.

The local quality supervision center has been asked by police to find out the speed of the car and how much has the car been refitted illegally.

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