A man broke into a family’s house, armed with a knife and a steel bar, after stalking the family’s daughter since early 2018, according to Chinese state media. The incident occurred on July 11, 2018 in Hebei Province, China. The confrontation turned violent after the stalker, named Wang Lei, started a fight with the family’s daughter.
The parents, Wang Xinyuan (father) and Zhao Yinzhi (mother) said they killed Lei out of self-defense, but they were arrested a month later and charged with murder. The daughter, Xiaofei (not her real name), 22, was granted bail.
Xiaofei brought the case to public attention in January when she called for support to help her family’s claim of self defense.
After two months of campaigning, her parents were acquitted of murder charges on March 3. Public pressure played a big role in influencing the prosecution.
Lei first met Xiaofei when they both worked at a restaurant. He asked Xiaofei to be in a relationship with him in April, but she refused him, according to a CCTV report.
Xiaofei then claimed that Lei sexually assaulted her the following night. He harassed Xiaofei at both her house and her university for the following month.
Xiaofei’s family reported him to the police four times between May and July because of his visits.
On one of the occasions when Lei was at Xiaofei’s home, he threatened to commit suicide if she refused him. He then sent death threats through text messages to both Xiaofei and her brother.
Xiaofei would hide outside of her own house on multiple occasions to avoid Lei, and she even stayed at hotels and relatives’ homes. The police confronted Lei about his behavior, but to no avail.
On July 11, Lei climbed the fence of the family home with weapons in hand, and attacked Xiaofei and her parents. The three family members were injured, police told state-run television.
The family fought back with a cleaver, a shovel, and a wooden stick, according to police investigations.
Xiaofei’s father, Wang, eventually stabbed Lei in the neck. After Lei was on the ground, Xiaofei’s mother, Zhao, stabbed him several more times.
After a month, the parents were arrested by police. The police suggested that the mother was taken by bloodlust, as she stabbed Lei multiple times after he was on the ground.
Since January, Xiaofei has campaigned for her parents’ acquittal. In the two months time, hundreds of thousands of appeals have come from the public calling for leniency on the parents.
Eventually, the public appeals led to the murder charges being dropped against both parents. The prosecution said the couple’s actions were indeed self-defense, and that the family could use any form of self-defense in the case of Lei’s actions.
Yin Qingli, the parents’ lawyer, said that public opinion played a significant role in the decision of the case.
Justice in China
Though public opinion likely significantly swayed the ruling of this case, many injustices in China are still unknown.
The most severe cases involve those who are persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for their beliefs. Falun Gong adherents, Tibetans, and most recently Uyghurs are all victims of an ongoing brutal suppression by the Chinese regime.
Public opinion is sheltered from these issues, as they are considered some of the most highly sensitive topics censored within mainland China.