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Elite Chinese student gets death for "cruel" crime

22 april 2011, 17:14
Yao Jiaxin. Photo courtesy of cnwest channel
Yao Jiaxin. Photo courtesy of cnwest channel
A Chinese court sentenced a college student to death Friday for murdering a woman he had injured with his car, in a crime that has sparked widespread debate over China's rich "second generation", AFP reports.

Yao Jianxin was given the death penalty in the northern city of Xian after confessing he killed Zhang Miao because he feared the "peasant woman would be hard to deal with" after the accident, the state Xinhua news agency said.

According to media reports, Yao's car hit Zhang, a part-time cafeteria worker and the mother of a two-year-old son, while she was riding her bicycle late on the night of October 20.

The 26-year-old woman only suffered minor injuries but instead of helping her, Yao, 21, stabbed her eight times with a knife as she eyed his car number plate.

The Xian Conservatory of Music student fled the scene but was later caught.

The crime has led to widespread social debate over China's "rich second generation," a well-off group of youths that demands privilege and sometimes lacks morals, after more than 30 years of booming economic growth.

In its judgement on Yao, the court said his crime was "extremely despicable... and extremely cruel," and warranted the death penalty despite his confession and remorseful attitude, Xinhua said.

Yao was also ordered to pay Zhang's family 45,000 yuan (about $7,000) in compensation. The court was unavailable for comment when contacted by AFP.

Reaction to Friday's verdict was mixed in Internet postings, with many saying the life of a college student should be spared, while others agreeing wholeheartedly with the verdict.

"If it were not for the strong public opinion over this case it is very unlikely that this verdict would have been reached," said a posting by a person named Mafan on the popular Sina.com web portal.

"Judging from the trade-off of (social) interests, Yao Jianxian could have been spared his life."

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