On Oct 23rd, 2010, Yao Jiaxin, a college junior in Xi’an Conservatory of Music hit a 26 year-old woman with his car. When he noticed the victim was taking down his license plate number, he got out of the car, took out a knife and stabbed her 8 times to death. Li Meijin is professor of criminology in Chinese People’s Public Security University and she’s a regular guest in some of the country’s news programs. This time, she also gave her analysis and commented on this controversial murder case but caused an even wider dispute.
Yao Jiaxin, at the court, with more than 300 students present at the hearing
Video about the murder case and Professor Li Meijin’s analysis
When asked to comment on the murder, the professor of criminology said," We all know music can mold one’s temperament. Yao plays piano well. He enters university, he should have a mature way of thinking and attitude, he should know what’s important and what’s not. Thus, people find it really hard to figure out why this incident would happen at all. In my opinion, there are a lot of reasons for it, one of which I think it’s there are many things missing in his process of growing up. "
Later the professor gave the example of the well-known pianist Lang Lang. She said, "Lang Lang once told the story in his childhood that, his father pushed him to practice piano every day and even threaten Lang Lang if he couldn’t play the piano well, he would throw Lang Lang down from the top of the apartment and then jump down himself to death also… Growing up in an environment where he was constantly forced to do something, a person often becomes more and more numb and cold-blooded. He may play piano very well, but he lost the sympathy and love for a lot of things. So I think what is missing in Yao’s life, is the communication of feelings."
The professor explained later in the program that, Yao’s cruel action of stabbing the victim 8 times is actually a compulsive behavior resulted from his forced practice of piano. "A compulsive behavior is mechanical behavior. He was forced to play piano, to strike the keys hard on the piano to let out his grievance. When he stabbed the girl, he was having the same feeling and therefore he started the mechanical action of striking the keys only this time is stabbing a human being with knife."
One factor that makes the murder case so controversial is when interviewed earlier, the murder Yao confessed the reason he stabbed the victim after hitting her, is because he thought " farmer are too difficult to get rid of " and he was afraid that she would harass his parents for money. The anchor later asked professor Li what did she think of Yao’s answer, the professor continued to defend the murder by saying, "I don’t know where he got this wrong idea and prejudice from…But it’s true that lawsuit can be very time and money consuming…Of course, he’s ignorant in some way, but he’s not the only one to have this prejudice. This is actually an existing social prejudice. Whatever he says, is wrong, but they all have their root in the society"
Li Meijin associates the murder’s being forced to practice piano with his cruel stabbing the woman to death
However, Chinese netizens obviously disagree with the criminologist’s analysis, saying she is far from being called an expert, jumping to a so-called "professional" conclusion of the murder’s motive and psychological reason for his cruel crime before she actually give some study and thought in the case. Since the news program is in CCTV, what she said on the murder more or less will have influence on the public’s opinion and even affect the trial. They criticize the professor for only caring about making money by showing in TV program instead of doing what she should do-engaged in her own study. Some even write posts on analyzing her, saying "if she can make such a hasty conclusion to a murder’s criminal analysis, why can I give her an diagnose on her stupid behavior? "
Among the voice of criticizing is a professor of philosophy in the Peking University, who "diagnoses" professor Li as having the syndrome of "Expert obsessive-Compulsive Disorder", individual who is too obsessive with their identity of expert. In the article, Xiao mainly points out Li’s 2 mistakes. First, as a professor in psychology and a work staff in the judicial and public security section, Li knew clearly that what she said on the influential media platform CCTV would affect the public opinion on the murder and eventually the outcome of the case. Second, to conclude the murder’s crime with his playing piano has absolute connection is absurd. It’s a cruel murder case, it wouldn’t make a difference even the murder is a student in music school and can play piano well.
What even further provoked people’s anger is an article Li Meijin later published online to response to all the criticism as she claimed people knocked her because they’re all laymen of the criminology and wouldn’t understand her reasoning and analysis. And she’s going to response to any criticism unless it’s from an expert or authority.
The defendant’s lawyer claimed Yao
is "kill in the heat of passion", but seriously, what kind of people would carry a knife with 30cm blade (