yang jia, cop killer

14Dec08

i’ve been following this for a few weeks now. the back story is, in 2006, yang jia got beaten by police for cutting in line at a train station in shanxi province. he sustained a concussion and lost three teeth. a year later he was arrested in shanghai and accused of stealing a bicycle which he rented. after the interrogation, he was dragged out of the room and beaten, but shanghai police denied he was beaten and while the interrogation videos documented him being dragged out, the was no footage of the beating. he demanded compensation and a written account of what had happened, and the police offered him 7xs the amount he was seeking, but would not admit to any wrongdoing. yang jia refused the money. when his father tried to hire a lawyer to represent him in court, he was denied and was given a state lawyer who had ties to the same police department that beat his son.

on july 1, 2008, yang jia started a fire at the front gate of the police station, slipped into the building and killed 9 unarmed police officers and 1 security guard before being subdued and arrested. he was sentenced to death and was executed by the chinese state on november 26, 2008. he was 28 years old.

what is most striking is that yang jia is now considered a hero by many chinese people. they have commended him for standing up to chinese police who have long been the physical enforcement of the chinese communist party’s authority by suppressing dissent. he did not back down and he would not be bribed or coerced into lying. around the time of his hearings there were street protests where people openly disputed state power. this is a big fucking deal in china. what is even MORE amazing is he’s been memorialized around the streets of beijing through graffiti.

when i was in beijing i didn’t see any graffiti, the city was so bureaucratic, especially compared to shanghai. a couple scribbles here and there but only in the very back alleys of the hutong, away from any main streets and not accessible by car.  these pictures really are amazing to me…

this along with the riots in greece makes me angry about the complacency we have here in north america (myself included). the police kill a teenager in greece and they’ve had a week of rioting and resistance that has spread across the country and across europe. toronto’s finest recently murder jeffrey reodica and alwy al-nadhir (no coincidence that they are youth of colour) and the guilty officers were cleared, a couple rallies and the city and world forgets. the lack of public outcry really allows police brutality to go unchecked.

(photos from chinaSMACK)

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One Response to “yang jia, cop killer”

  1. Whoa! That’s insane! I had no idea about Yang Jia. Thanks for sharing! And I totally agree about lack of public outcry here. It’s like people have been bribed and bought into believing that things are ok when THEY ARE REALLY NOT!


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