74-year-old Wang Ruxin moved to the United States two months ago to enjoy his retirement. Last week, he was shot to death while taking in his trash can outside his home. His wife of 48 years was the one who discovered his body.
“She heard two gunshots, and afterward she tried to look around for my dad. She came out and she saw him lying there breathless,” said the victim’s son Wang Yun.
After retiring from working at China’s education ministry, Wang Ruxin moved with his wife from China to Nashville, Tennessee in September in search of a better life and to be near to their son, who moved to the US in 2000.
“I tried to let them enjoy their retirement. I take them [traveling] across the world. I just didn’t know it would end up like this,” said Wang Yun.
Witnesses told police that they saw a group of young men, possibly juveniles, in black hoodies running away from the scene after the shooting. Earlier this week, Wang Yun said that police had told him that there might be four suspects and that two had already been arrested — a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.
While speaking with reporters about his father’s death, Wang broke down into tears.
“You look at the Las Vegas shooting, you look at the Orlando shooting [and] you think it is so far away from you, but it’s not,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine [it could] happen to our family, but it does, it did.”
News of the shooting hit Chinese social media this week with netizens once again praising China for prohibiting firearms and criticizing the US for its frequent instances of senseless gun violence.
“What a tragedy. This old man spent his whole life educating Chinese children and teaching them morals, only to move to the US, and be shot by American children,” one Weibo user wrote.
“Gun violence in America is completely out of control, I wouldn’t let my parents move there,” added another.
“Maybe this incident will finally stop former officials from moving to the US,” another joked.
Over the past few years, kidnappings, shootings, and killings of Chinese students in the US have made netizens claim that they would no longer feel safe moving to the “Land of the Free” — at least not without a gun of their own.
Meanwhile, Chinese state media have eagerly highlighted frequent mass shootings in the US, finding them an excellent way to damage America’s soft power. In response to Wang’s shooting, party tabloid the Global Times published an editorial which argues that “gun violence diminishes US image in China.” The opinion piece goes on to say:
In the past, most Chinese associated the US with sound social welfare, an enviable healthcare system, high-quality education and a friendly environment. Nowadays America’s image in the minds of many Chinese is far different. A glance at US-related news mainly features the country’s chaotic politics, the fight between Trump and the media, and the unimaginable gun violence. The US is no longer a secure country in the eyes of many Chinese. Worse still, the government has yet to take effective actions to curb gun violence, and American citizens can only hope they are lucky enough to avoid being attacked. Chinese have long been bored by the excuses given by US politicians for their inability to pass effective gun control legislation. Chinese have no right to interfere with US domestic affairs, but we are shocked at the country’s indifference to the loss of life.
While Trump continues to mouth the slogan “Make America Great Again,” he is failing to ensure the personal security of ordinary US citizens. Instead of deploying incredibly costly military excursions overseas, he should rethink his priorities.
Each year, China retaliates against the US State Department’s annual human rights report — which charges China with crackdowns against civil rights, political liberties, religious freedoms, etc. — with a report of its own focused on human rights violations that were committed by the US. Epidemic gun violence always takes up a substantial section of the report.