Source: Global Times Published: 2017-11-14
More than 80 percent of Chinese netizens polled say "cyber violence should be used to punish people" in reference to a woman abused for her "ruthless and heartless" behavior toward her friend, who allegedly died because of her.
Liu Xin, a twenty-something woman, is at the center of a web attack after she allegedly refused to open the door when her roommate Jiang Ge was stabbed to death by Liu`s ex-boyfriend outside the door of her rented house in 2016.
The reason for the stabbing remains unknown, but a majority of online posts suspect that Jiang was stabbed when she tried to protect Liu, and that Liu did not show any gratitude and refused to cooperate with police on the case. Liu denied the allegations, adding she was not aware o;f the stabbing.
The incident came into public attention recently when Jiang`s mother started an online petition to give the suspected murderer the death penalty a month ahead of the trial. More than 160 million netizens have joined the online discussion on sina.com, with most of them expressing their contempt or anger toward Liu.
A sina.com poll shows 81 percent of nearly 17,000 Net users say "cyber violence should be used to punish people" in this case as of press time.
"Violence might not the best approach, but sometimes it is the only way," wrote a popular comment that received over 500 likes.
"Though Liu was not punished by law, she has been punished by the court of public opinion for a long time, and her tainted reputation will last the rest of her life," said Zhang Yiwu, a Peking University professor.
Zhang said moral condemnation of Liu is more of a "warning" instead of cyber violence, adding that Liu`s behavior is unacceptable among many Chinese. However, public opinion should not replace the role of law in any case, he noted.
Zhang Yiwu is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.