The Police Beat A Harbin University Student To Death

(Southern Metropolis Daily)  Video of "Police Beating Person To Death" Caused Netizens To Split.  October 15, 2008.

Lin Songling picked up a plank.

Lin Songling hit the police officer Qi Xin with the plank

The brawl between the two sides

The topless Lin Songling sprinted away and being chased

[in translation]

Yesterday, a surveillance video tape of six Harbin police officers beating a young man to death was broadly circulated on the Internet, and drew a huge amount of attention.  Some netizens watched the video and deemed that the deceased had initiated the violence several times against the other party, and therefore he was in the wrong too.  This kind of voice triggered an even greater controversy.

"No matter what, it is wrong to beat someone to death.  This is especially the case for the police, who ought to know the law!"  That was how one netizen summarized the case.

At around 17:00 on October 12, a post at the MOP forum titled <Last night in Harbin, six police officers beat a Harbin Institute of Physical Education student to death in the street> became explosively popular.

The post was subsequently re-posted at many other forums.  The fact that the attackers were policemen drew condemnations from netizens.  The reporter noted that the commentators at first condemned the police and expressed sympathy for the deceased.

On October 13, Heilongjiang TV reported on the case and showed the surveillance video tape that the police obtained from the Sugar Bar.  The video tape showed that the two parties clashed physically inside the bar, but things were unclear due to the dim lighting.  Afterwards, a fight broke out outside the entrance to the bar.  The deceased Lin Songling took a plank and hit the police officer Qi Xin who was making a telephone call.  People from both parties pulled them apart.  Then Lin Songling went up again to hit Qi Xin, after which a fight broke out between the two parties.  The video ended with a topless Lin Songling sprinting around the corner and being chased.  There is no video of the subsequent assault that led to his death.

After this video appeared on the Internet, many netizens began to analyze and discuss it.  It was precisely this video that caused public opinion on the Internet to shift.  The almost one-sided condemnation of the police began to shift as some netizens thought that the deceased Lin Songling was suspected of escalating the violence as well.

Some netizen thought the video showed that Lin Songling continued to escalate the violence several times.  Yesterday, at KDNet, a post <After watching the video investigation, what would you do if you were the Harbin police?> triggered heated debate among netizens.  The person who made the post declared up front: "I do not support the police beating a university student to death; the police should cherish and protect university students>.  Then he came up with five points of analysis: "These police officers were very restrained and they only fought back after they were pushed beyond endurance until they were bleeding.  When your blood is rushing, do you have time to think?  Perhaps people say that the crime does not deserve death.  But if you say so, you are really being very rational.  Is it normal to have only rationality but no emotions?"

The reporter noticed that this voice that seemed to be supporting the attackers was receiving approval from some of the netizens.  In the comments to the video, netizens noted that the police officers were not in uniform and the other party was initiating the action.  "When the deceased picked up the brick to hit the back of the police officer's head, he could have easily killed him too."  "What if these weren't police officers but just ordinary citizens?  People could have easily died too."  "The police were being assaulted, so this is self-defense going too far."

But this kind of voice aroused a greater controversy.  Many netizens said that a fight is a fight, but the progress of the fight cannot alter the fact that the police beat someone to death.  "As police officers, why didn't they use the law to solve the problem instead of trying to outdo the other side in violence?  Why did they have to beat the person to death?"  "This is not self-defense going too far.  Someone punches you a few times and you beat him to death.  It is that simple.

The fact that the attackers were police officers was emphasized by the netizens.  "The police have been rigorously trained.  When they encounter such an incident, they should think about calling the police.  Besides, they did not all take part in the assault.  Why didn't the companions of Qi Xin call the police station to solve the problem?"

Some netizens suspect that the police had published a video tape that was suspiciously edited.

At the KDNet forum, a netizen noted that the video tape released by the police had been edited.  He noted that there was an inconsistency in the times for the three segments.  "In terms of timing, the students were inside the bar between 7:01 and 7:26.  The police got out of the car and quarreled with the students at 8:26 to 8:57.  Why did the police transposed the events and put an earlier event after a later event?  What possible explanation is there?"  "From 7:26 to 9:58, apart from the scene of the police arriving and quarreling, 59 seconds were excised.  Why was it excised?  What happened during that one minute?"

Some netizens believe that the editing had been done by the television station and not the police.  "Perhaps they want to save time on the news broadcast.  Therefore they excised those scenes that are irrelevant or show no people.  Of course, in a courtroom, the prosecutor, the defendants and the lawyers can demand the entire video tape be shown and not just these segments."

While the Internet controversy continues and the truth is still waiting to be revealed, the lost life of Lin Songling cannot be saved.

On October 11, there was a fight in front of a popular Harbin pub named the Candy Bar.  Six police officers in plain clothes and four students from the Institute of Physical Education were in the fight which resulted in the death of a young man.  Yesterday, three of the young men (Yang Sen, Che Liang and Pan Xing) who were involved the fight told the reporter what happened.

October 11 was the birthday of Che Liang.  At 7pm, seven persons (five men and two women) celebrated with dinner at a restaurant.  Afterwards, Che Liang drove Lin Songling and a woman to the Candy Bar while the other four took a taxi to get there.  Che Liang and his two friends waited outside the bar for the other four to come.  At that time, a unlicensed silver Bora car drove up "at high speed."  Che Liang and Pan Xing both said that the Bora brushed up against the road shoulder twice.  A security guard then directed the car to park to the right of the pub.  "The car came at me at high speed."  Che Liang said that he muttered reflexively, "Who is driving that car?"  Afterwards, three people came from behind Che Liang and tapped him on the shoulder.  "The Bora driver got out and said, 'Were you scared?'  Then we got into a quarrel."  Che Liang recalled.

Yang Sen and others said that the quarrel turned into a brawl.  "I can't remember who started first, because it was very chaotic."  The first fight occurred by the stairwell inside the bar.  "Nobody won or lost."  According to an informed source, the fight inside the pub was stopped by the pub employees who sent both parties outside.

Che Liang said that after they got out, he kept talking to a man dressed in blue who looked older to "stop the fight and forget about it."

Yang Sen said that a man in white came out and kept cursing.  "So I rushed over to hit the man in white, but I was immediately pushed against the wall and assaulted by several people."

In the video released by the police, the deceased Lin Songling wanted to attack the other party at this point, but he was intercepted by someone.  He tried later again to attack the other party.  Yang Sen, Che Liang and Pan Xing all said that they did not notice this detail because it was too chaotic.

The first to notice Lin Songling was Yang Sen.  "I was trapped against the wall and being beaten.  Suddenly, I saw that Lin Songling was also surrounded by several people and being assaulted.  I wanted to go over there but I couldn't.  So I told Pan Xing to go over there to help Songling."

Pan Xing heard Yang Sen's cry, and he saw the topless Lin Songling running away with several people in pursuit.  Pan Xing recalled that Lin Songling wore a black jacket that day with a white t-shirt underneath.  "He took off his jacket by himself, but I have no idea how the white t-shirt came off."

Several dozen meters later, Pan Xing caught up and saw Lin Songling lying on the ground with his head and shoulders against the subway construction wall.  His body was curled up.  "I pushed aside the people attacking him and told them to stop.  Someone grabbed my hair from behind and made me kneel down.  I bent down and he ordered me to kneel.  I knelt down and used my arms to cover my head.  I didn't know how many people were kicking me in my head."  Pan Xing said that he got somewhat dazed.  When he lifted his head, he saw that Lin Songling was still lying there while the other people had left.  "The spectators said, 'Call 120 quickly because your friend is dying.'  I made the call."

Che Liang also saw Lin Songling running.  When he ran in the direction of Lin Songling, "two men came at me and knocked me down on the ground.  I grabbed my head and laid down by my side.  Three people were attacking me.  One of them held my legs while the other two were kicking my head."

At another location, Yang Sen was held face down on the ground.  "The other party did not release his hold until the police came."

Pan Xing said that the 120 ambulance arrived.  The doctor examined Lin Songling and pronounced him dead.  The ambulance then left.  "I was in a daze and I could not react quickly enough.  I did not realize that Songling was already dead," said Pan Xing.

After they were taken down to the police station, Che Liang called the female friends at the scene and confirmed that Lin Songliang was dead.  "My head was foggy, because they were very expert with their attacks."

Yang Sen and others said that even after they got to the police station, they did not realize that the other parties were policemen.  They also said that there "was definitely more than six people" who attacked them.

(KDNet)  The Investigation After Watching The Video: If You Were The Harbin Police, What Would You Do?

Let me state first that I do not support the police beating a university student to death.  Instead, the police should cherish and protect university students.  The minimal reason is that the so-called angry youth are the ones who admire and support the People's Police, and most of them are university students.  At a time when the police have fewer and fewer fans, they should be grateful for the support of the university students.  Besides, the police are law enforcers and they should not break the law themselves.

So now I ask you to watch the video taken on the night of the incident first before you speak.  You can post your thoughts in the comments: If you were a guy on a night out with friends, what would you do under the circumstances?

Video link:

The video shows:

1. At around 10pm that night, six policemen (please note that they were in plainclothes) went to the pub in a car (there is not regulation that policemen cannot go to bar after work in plain clothes).  One of the policemen (later identified as Qi Xin) had an argument with one of the four students (later identified as the deceased).  Words were exchanged, but there was no physical contact.

2. The deceased put aside his belongings in the pub corridor and continued to yell at Qi Xin (there was no sound).

3. When the six policemen went up the stairs, some students came out to attack them.  The beaten policeman may be Qi Xin.  The deceased kicked well.  The policemen did not retaliate.  They merely ran out the pub.  (If the deceased was the cop killer Yang Jia, these policemen would be dead).

4. Both parties are now outside the the pub.  The deceased was excited.  He picked up a brick from the ground and wanted to hit the policeman known as Qi ZXin.  But he was stopped.  (People in both parties were trying to mediate)  Qi Xin was making a telephone call.  The deceased made a sudden attack and hit Qi Xin on the back of his head.  The policeman actually did not retaliate.  A policeman said: "Stay out of trouble from drinking too much."  (note: Indicated on the sub-titles)

5. Just as everybody was trying to mediate, the deceased suddenly went up and punched Qi Xin twice again.  Finally, the policeman was riled enough to fight back.  He charged up and threw two punches at the deceased (one connected but the other one missed).  But he stopped after a few seconds.  The deceased then took of his shirt and ran (it is not known what the temperature in Harbin was, but the deceased was topless).  One policeman and Qi Xin who was holding his head with his hand gave chase.

Here is my judgment which is not related to what any other netizen think: After watching the video, I thought about a man who is out with friends.  I once got into a fight with some guys who were harassing a female worker whom my friend liked, and I got injured.  If I were a policeman, I would have fought back a long time ago after those continuous blows.  After all, they are men.  These police officers were very restrained and they only fought back after they were pushed beyond endurance until they were bleeding.  When your blood is rushing, do you have time to think?  Perhaps people say that the crime does not deserve death.  But if you say so, you are really being very rational.  Is it normal to have only rationality but no emotions?

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