Senseless murder, criminologist blames forced piano practice in childhood


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

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 "killed in the heat of passion", but seriously, what kind of people would carry a knife with 30cm blade ( the knife Yao used to stab the victim) all the time?

  1. Ah, China is catching up to the US too quickly.

    We here have perfected the whole “blame it on the parents” mentality for excusing bad behavior.

    It’s all part of our master plan to bring you down to our level.

  2. Wait a minute, he claims his father threatened him but who bought this college junior a car? I think the original confession is much more likely. He killed he because he thought it would be a hassle to pay her for his careless driving. If she hadn’t tried to find out who he was from the license plate, he would have driven away! Just another spoiled Chinese rich boy.

    PS – Please do not link videos that start playing automatically!

  3. In the west they are called paid Expert Witnesses. With enough money you can always find an expert who will mislead people or a court. Money can hide the truth….

  4. Then why didn’t all the survivors of the Japanese rape and murder spree in Asia become serial killers themselves? How about the survivors of the concentration camps? Only one survivor who became a maid in California became a violent criminal when she couldn’t stand being demeaned in the workplace and stabbed someone out of tens of millions of Jewish, Chinese, Russian and other survivors.

    YOU don’t see US making excuses and hurting other people, so you must be pretty stupid to believe that we will believe your excuse. How embarassing to make such a stupid lie.

    1. Yep, like the other commentators above mentioned, this “expert” criminologist was probably bought.

  5. My parents forced me to practice piano too, it was pretty shithouse
    Never stabbed nobody though

  6. Hmm, then my downstairs neighbor must be training a legion of future mass murderers. I must admit, a lot of days I feel like killing someone after listening to the same damn pieces “played” over and over and over…and over.

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