Discussion over the brutal murder last year of a Chinese student in Japan has blown up recently on Chinese social media with the mother of the victim partly blaming her daughter’s roommate for the tragedy.
24-year-old Jiang Ge, a Chinese student from Qingdao, was killed inside her apartment building in Tokyo on November 3rd, 2016, stabbed to death by the ex-boyfriend of her roommate just outside the door of the rented flat that they shared.
Jiang’s roommate, Liu Xin, a Chinese woman in her twenties, had reportedly moved in with Jiang two months prior to the incident after breaking up her boyfriend, a 25-year-old Chinese man named Chen Shifeng. That afternoon, Chen had arrived at the apartment looking for Liu. After quarreling, the three left the apartment and went their separate ways.
That night, Liu returned back to the apartment first. She told police that she was changing clothes when she heard someone screaming outside her door. She said that she tried to open the door, but was unable to, finding it blocked, so she called the police instead.
At this time, it’s still not clear why Chen stabbed Jiang. However, many believe that he did it in anger as she was preventing him from seeing his ex-girlfriend. For her part, Liu claims that she had no idea what was going on just outside their apartment door.
The murder case against Chen is set to be heard next month in Japan. Jiang’s mother, Jiang Qiulian, has been busy circulating a petition calling for the death penalty for her daughter’s murderer. Capital punishment is a rarity in Japan with only two executions carried out last year. However, in a recent article, the Procuratorate Daily claims that China should also have the right to prosecute Chen. China executes more people each year than the rest of the world combined.
But the chances of Chen being extradited to China are slim; Japan has no extradition treaty with China. Chinese legal experts do say though that if Chen is convicted then Jiang will be able to file a civil lawsuit in China demanding compensation.
Meanwhile, Jiang Qiulian has also been pointing the finger at Liu, charging that she purposefully kept her daughter locked out of the apartment as she was attacked and stabbed to death.
In addition, Jiang has accused Liu of failing to reach out to her following the tragedy, refusing requests to provide her with details and not sending out her condolences. In response, Jiang has exposed personal information and photos of Liu and her parents on Weibo, urging investigative net users to post Liu’s whereabouts and help shame her into responding to her requests. Jiang claims that Liu has responded by threatening not to help with the police investigation.
For her part, Liu has denied these accusations, claiming that she has been under police protection and supervision and has been banned from speaking with any members of Jiang’s family in order to not compromise the investigation. She also has insisted that she did not lock the door before Jiang was attacked.
Last Friday, the Beijing News released a video of Jiang Qiulian finally confronting her daughter’s roommate. In their face-to-face meeting, which took place in August, Liu is seen weeping, apologizing for not being able to help her friend, but maintaining that she had not locked the door. While crying about the death of her friend, Liu also brings up how she has been cyber-bullied because of Jiang’s campaign against her. The two-hour-long meeting failed to lead to a reconciliation between the two.
On Weibo, a hashtag about the case registered nearly two billion views and tens of millions of comments before being deleted as many netizens have voiced their disgust with how Liu has handled the aftermath of her roommate’s murder, calling for her to be forever shamed and blacklisted.
“It makes sense that she was too scared to open the door and check outside, but to not say even a word to her roommate’s mother for such a long time? That is truly heartless,” wrote one netizen.
Apparently, most Chinese netizens are fine with the human flesh search engine attacks on Liu. The Global Times cites a Sina survey of 17,000 net users which found that 81% of them agreed with the statement “cyber violence should be used to punish people.”
In the same report, Peking University professor Zhang Yiwu is quoted as saying: “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.”