Judge’s Stabbing Reflects Turbulence in Chinese Judiciary System

November 26, 2018 Updated: November 26, 2018

A female judge in the metropolis of Chongqing, southwestern China, was injured in a knife attack by a man who had recently been released from prison, the latest in a string of violent crimes against judges that highlight longstanding troubles in China’s legal system. A police officer was also injured in the Nov. 22 attack.

Chinese judges are frequent targets for assault, and many ordinary Chinese applaud those who take vengeance on judges, police, and other officials because of rampant corruption and frequent miscarriages of justice, current affairs commentator Yu Qingxin wrote in a 2016 analysis published by the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times. She says this abnormal social phenomenon is rooted in the authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

Tian Xiao, 53, a senior judge at the Nanchuan District Court who has presided over criminal cases for 24 years, was attacked by ex-convict Zeng Chuan near the court building. According to the court, Tian was stabbed in both legs, and police officer Liu Yan, who stepped in to protect the judge, was stabbed in the abdomen and chest.

While the Nanchuan Court didn’t indicate a motive for the attack, it was noted that Zeng had been jailed twice, and was most recently released on Nov. 11. Tian had presided over his latest trial.

One Chinese social-media user wrote: “I don’t know the details of the story between the judge and the suspect, but judging from the results of a lawsuit I personally experienced this year, it’s likely the judge had it coming.”

Another said, “On the surface, a woman was stabbed, but actually, the knife was directed at the broader political and legal system in China.”

“When there is no justice, there must be resistance!” reads a third comment. “In China, the court is the darkest and most inhuman place.”

Other netizens noted that in order for the attacker to assault Tian, he would have had to be prepared to serve a life sentence, if not be executed.

“We should not encourage violence, but it’s a different matter when it comes to judges who do not carry out their duties according to the spirit of justice. They do not only hurt individual victims, but damage the entire concept of justice,” said one commenter.

In recent years, multiple Chinese judges have been injured or killed, many of them due to dissatisfaction with the legal process.

On Jan. 26, 2017, Fu Mingsheng, a retired judge in Guangxi Province, Southwestern China, was stabbed to death in his residence by a man named Long Jiancai. Twenty years earlier, Long had been involved in a domestic case in which Fu ruled that he had to divorce.

In February 2016, Ma Caiyun, a female judge of the Changping District Court in Beijing, was shot and killed by two gunmen outside her residence; her husband Li Fusheng was wounded. One of the assailants was the plaintiff in a post-divorce property dispute that Ma had presided over. The suspects committed suicide after the slaying.

In September 2015, a man called Hu Qinggang stabbed four judges in the office of the Intermediate Court of Shiyan in central China’s Hubei Province. Hu had been dissatisfied with the second-instance judgment of a labor dispute case, according to the official report.

In June 2010, Zhu Jun, the captain of a guard unit at a post office in Lingling District, Hunan Province, opened fire at a judicial building with his submachine gun, killing three judges and leaving three others wounded. The same month, six judges were wounded in the neighboring province of Guangxi, when a suspect splashed them with sulfuric acid.

Gu Qing’er contributed to this report