A debate on diplomatic immunity has been sparked in Beijing after a US embassy car allegedly drove away from a traffic accident that injured one woman last Wednesday.
The injured driver was Chen Lin, a reporter for Phoenix Television, and she publicized the incident on her Weibo account, calling for Chinese police to aid her and do the motherland proud by bringing the driver to justice.
“I got out of my car and tried to stop the vehicle, but it dragged me into traffic. I was badly hurt, but the car drove off. Police told me that the license plate was from the US embassy, so they may have diplomatic immunity. There may be nothing we can do about it, even in the territory of our own country,” Chen wrote last Friday, two days after the incident occurred.
In another thread, she alleged that this was not an isolated incident:
“I’ve heard other stories from police about foreign diplomats getting away with drunk driving and traffic offenses under so-called ‘diplomatic immunity.’ It struck me that the kindness of our country is abused by malicious foreigners. I only request that justice be served.”
Netizens are divided over Chen’s case. Some echoed her concerns that the rights of Chinese citizens are being compromised. Others argued that the immunity that foreign diplomats have in China is evened out by Chinese diplomats being granted the same rights in other countries.
The Global Times interviewed Chen on June 11th. She told them that “The police claim that they will investigate. I respect the formal procedures.”
On June 12th, the embassy vehicle was revealed to be driven by the wife of a military attache. She compensated Chen for her injury and car damage with an insurance claim and direct payment, and has since returned to the US, the Global Times reports.
Well, at least that saves one scooter-driving Chinese man from taking revenge for the motherland.
By Victor Fung