Fri, February 10, 2012
China > Mainland

Beware of moral pitfall of misleading public

2012-02-10 07:42:39 GMT2012-02-10 15:42:39(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Victim and Yao's family fight over relinquished compensation.

The notorious hit-and-run case involving a college student named Yao Jiaxin, who had stabbed a cyclist to death to cover up the incident, has long been settled since the Supreme People’s Court approved the capital punishment and Yao was executed June 7, 2010.

But the debate related to the case and people in question lingers on, and controversy was of late reignited, when the victim’s family demanded the 200,000 yuan ($31,780) compensation from the family of Yao Jiaxin.

Facing media on Tuesday, Yao’s father bluntly rejected the demand. He was quoted as saying, “I have no obligation to give them the money now, since they refused to take then and returned it.”

According to Yao’s father, Yao Qingwei, he and his wife visited the victim’s family on May 26 and left them 200,000 yuan as a pension fund as Yao Jiaxin wished. The victim’s father, Zhang Pingxuan, accepted the money initially, but returned it days afterwards. Further, Zhang allegedly lied in later interviews about Yao’s visit, insisting that he was not as home when Yao called.

Yao Qingwei, however, has all along suspected it was none other than the lawyer Zhang Xian who has masterminded all this behind the scene. The victim’s family published a statement Tuesday through Zhang Xian on his sina blog, saying “It’s been eight mongths and Yao qingwei still keeps the message on his microblog, which suggests his genuine and solid attitude. So we will accept the unconditional 200,000 yuan and will take the money on the morning of February 8.”

Nevertheless, Yao is now refusing to honor the offer, and in actuality, he has since the execution of his son, been in a law suit against the lawyer Zhang Xian over his intentional defamation of Yao’s family.

Meanwhile, over 80 percent of the netizens believe that the victim’s lawyer Zhang Xian has played a very bad role in the case, fanning public anger to influence media coverage and the trial itself, kidnapping public opinions to actually seek his personal gains. It was the lawyer who, in the fermenting season of public emotion, came out defining the murder case as a “revengeful murder targeting lower class”, said a commentary in the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper.

Zhang the lawyer had earlier posted twisted information suggesting that Yao’s father held major positions in China's military defense industries, triggering a huge wave of public indignation toward the mighty and wealthy “social elites” , but actually derailing the case in itself.

But, It later tuned out that Yao’s father was an ordinary worker in the industry on an average income.

Albeit that why the lawyer fabricated the whole thing remains a moot point, at least it is almost certain that Zhang proved to be hoisted by his own petard, as the muzzle of public opinions is now recalibrated targeting him.

The general public can be at times deceived, but will never be all the time shrouded in darkness. It is a dangerous game to distort the truth and manipulate the public.

The Chinese culture has long cherished the “four guiding principles” as its cornerstone, that is Sense of Propriety, Righteousness, Integrity and Sense of Shame. This serves not merely a shared virtue for the rankfile Chinese to honor, but the bottom line of public morality which should never be broken through.

By Li Hongmei, specially for Sina English

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