In recent days, the Tangshan restaurant attack incident in Hubei Province became viral, causing a great uproar in China and even around the world. In the eyes of the public, several strong men openly attacked women without any justifiable reason. The most injured woman in white was beaten with blood and lost several teeth.
After the incident, Luo Xiang, a well-known legal figure, posted a short video on his WeChat official account, expressing his attitude towards the incident.
In the beginning, the popular law teacher who has millions of followers on social media made clear his attitude, "Everyone felt very angry about it, and I was so angry that I didn't even have dinner. Some would say you should be calm and not emotional about such an event. I don’t think the calmness is what the warm-blooded human should have."
Asked how he would handle the case legally, Luo Xiang believes that if the facts are as reported by the media, the men may be suspected of defiance and affray. In China, malicious injury has three levels in criminal law: minor wound, serious injury, and causing death. The corresponding punishments are as follows. Whoever causes a minor wound could be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of no more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance; whoever causes serious injury could be sentenced to 3 to 10 years' imprisonment; and whoever causes death, serious injury or serious disability by cruel means could be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of no less than 10 years, life imprisonment or even death. Whoever beats others at will, if the circumstances are vile and disrupt social order, can be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment of no more than five years, criminal detention, or public surveillance.
Luo explained that beating others at will is actually a rogue motive. The defiance and affray crimes aim to punish the serious hooliganism in the common people's impression. A typical hooligan means harassing others and fighting upon rejection when others are having a meal.
Therefore, whoever causes a minor wound would constitute malicious injury and defiance and affray crime. If it is not a minor wound, but only a slight wound, then it would only constitute defiance and affray. In fact, the punishment for defiance and affray crime may be heavier than the malicious injury-causing minor wound in Chinese law, as the maximum penalty could be five years' imprisonment. Whoever causes serious injury would be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.
Luo Xiang said that the law must defend human dignity and advocate respect for others. Any behavior that tramples on human dignity should be condemned by the law. Meanwhile, the law should also encourage positive thinking and protect those who help others for a just cause.
Besides the law, what is more important is our moral self-discipline. According to the principle of Mencius, do we have the sense of shame to constantly examine our hearts? "Every hot case actually makes me examine myself. Do I really respect others?" Luo Xiang said so. Finally, Luo Xiang also posed a challenges to everyone: If you had been at the crime scene, would you stand up as brave and upright as you could be?"
- Translated by Oliver Zuo