BEIJING: China yesterday executed a street food vendor who drew widespread sympathy after fatally stabbing two “heavy-handed” security officials, provoking outraged Web users to denounce his death penalty as unjust.
China’s Supreme Court upheld a death sentence against Xia Junfeng, who murdered two officials after a dispute over his streetside stall in 2009, the Shenyang Intermediate People’s court in northeast China said in a verified social media account.
Xia had appealed his sentence on the grounds he killed the two officers in self-defence when they savagely attacked him and others in the city of Shenyang as he barbecued food on the street.
Xia’s case drew widespread sympathy amid regular reports of abuses by China’s quasi-police city management officials.
The officials, known as chengguan, “have earned a reputation for brutality and impunity... They are now synonymous for many Chinese citizens with physical violence, illegal detention, and theft,” a spokeswoman for advocacy group Human Rights Watch said last year.
Hundreds rioted in southwest China in 2011 after chengguan reportedly beat a disabled street vendor to death, while the alleged murder of a street vendor in southern China in July provoked a nationwide outcry.
Xia’s death sentence was the most discussed topic on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter yesterday where many expressed sympathy for him and called the verdict unjust. AFP