Some Perspective on the Death Penalty

More

From China:


A 21-year-old music student who accidentally struck a young woman with his car, then silenced her by stabbing her to death on the roadway, was executed Tuesday in Xi'an, in northwestern China, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.The student, Yao Jiaxin, had lost an appeal of a death sentence handed down by a Xi'an court on April 22. 

The crime had fanned deep public resentment against the "fu er dai," the "rich second generation" of privileged families who are widely believed to commit misdeeds with impunity because of their wealth or connections. Mr. Yao was the son of employees of a state-owned corporation in China's defense sector, one of them an executive and a military officer. 

The victim, Zhang Miao, 26, was a peasant. Mr. Yao, a student at a local music conservatory, was driving a Chevy Cruze in Xi'an last Oct. 20 when he struck Ms. Zhang, who was riding a bicycle. She was not seriously injured, according to news reports. But when Mr. Yao realized that she was memorizing his license plate number, he stabbed her eight times with a knife. He said later that he feared the woman, a poor peasant, would "be hard to deal with" should she seek compensation for her injuries.

What shocked me was quickly they executed the killer. The crime was committed in October and he was dead within a year. In America, I don't even know if he would have been to trial by then, much less killed. I don't know that that is a good thing.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In