China Murder Case Sparks Women’s Rights Uproar


Copyright The Wall Street Journal
MAY 28, 2009
BEIJING — A hotel employee whose arrest for murder sparked a wave of national sympathy in China after her lawyers said she was fighting off a rape attack has been released on bail, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Deng Yujiao, 21, was arrested May 10 after she allegedly stabbed two local government officials with a fruit knife in the Xiongfeng Hotel in central Hubei province, killing one of them.
Ms. Deng got in a quarrel with Huang Dezhi when he “mistook” her for a bathhouse attendant and asked her for “cross gender” services, according to a police report.
Deng Yujiao at a hospital in Badong, in central China, on May 18.
Mr. Huang’s colleague, Deng Guida, eventually intervened and the argument escalated when he pushed Ms. Deng onto a couch twice, and she “took a fruit knife and stabbed” Mr. Deng four times, including once in the neck, the report said. She also stabbed Mr. Huang in the forearm. Mr. Deng, who worked for an office overseeing investment projects in Badong city and isn’t related to Ms. Deng, later died from his injuries.
Badong County officials said the local public-security bureau is investigating the case, and Ms. Deng hasn’t been formally charged. A public-security report said she was initially detained for “suspicion of intentionally killing” Mr. Deng.
Ms. Deng’s lawyers have said she was acting in self-defense when the men tried to rape her after she refused to have sex with them for money.
The case sparked public anguish over the issue of violence against women, and a flood of sympathy for Ms. Deng in comments flooding in to Chinese Internet forums and blogs.
An essay posted on a Web forum hosted by the People’s Daily newspaper called the stabbing a “heroic act” and a milestone for women’s liberation. The date of the attack — May 10 — “will forever be remembered as the day on which a [girl] bravely defended herself and fought against the corrupt official when her life was threatened,” said the author, writing under the name “Shenzhou Shouwang,” or “Watching Over China.”
In an forum on the same Web site, a user called Guo Chunfu wrote that Ms. Deng “used her own acts to show that even the underprivileged can have a dignified life.”
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