On Friday evening, a Beijing judge was killed inside her home by two gunmen. The assailants later led police on a three-hour chase before committing suicide.
According to Sina, one of the two men involved was dissatisfied with the ruling in his divorce settlement case. He had attacked three other people earlier in the night, beating and killing the husband of his ex-wife.
The man and an accomplice then broke into the home of 39-year-old Judge Ma Caiyun, who served in a tribunal of the Changping District Court, with a homemade gun to take their revenge. Ma’s husband was also injured in the attack.
Immediately after reports of the killing aired, Chinese judges and lawyers flocked to social media to mourn the death of their colleague and worry about the future of their profession. Initially, many of these postings were harmonized by Chinese censors. Supreme People’s Court Monitor reports that one WeChat post on the killing was viewed nearly half a million times in just four hours before being taken down.
By Sunday, censors had largely stopped deleting posts, allowing legal professionals to voice their horror at the growing dangers of their occupation, and what it means for Chinese society.
In recent years, judges, like doctors, have increasingly been targeted for vicious attacks by upset parties. The Wall Street Journal translates one post by a lawyer that became popular on WeChat:
In China, of the three most respected professions in the West, two have already been ruined. In a normal society, three kinds of people can’t be toppled: judges, lawyers and doctors. One protects society’s bottom line, the other guards social justice, the other protects life. In China, judges and doctors have already become high-risk professions.
In response to this latest tragedy, the Supreme People’s Court promised new protections for judges and their families during a mournful black tie proceeding on Sunday.
By Carl Bakenhus
[Images via Sina]