On the evening of August 27, a drunk passenger named Liu Hailong got involved in an argument with bicyclist Yu Haiming over a traffic dispute in Kunshan, east China's Jiangsu Province. During the dispute, Liu took a machete out of his car and attacked Yu. Yu then grabbed the machete from Liu and fought back, killing him. This incident has attracted significant attention in China over whether Yu's actions will be adjudged a justifiable self-defense.
The Public Security Bureau and Procuratorate in Kunshan have jointly issued an announcement that, in accordance with the Constitution, Yu's actions are recognized as legitimate defense and he does not bear criminal responsibility for Liu's death.
The development of Yu's case and the multiple interpretations of the justifiable self-defense system further indicate that China's justifiable self-defense system is being better implemented, leaving behind its reputation for being too conservative.
Another important aspect of Yu's case is that the intervention of public opinion has helped the case to be processed in a more rational way. The correct application of justifiable self-defense should take into consideration both legal and social effect, and respect the public's moral expectations in a bid to improve the legal sense of society.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in Outlook Weekly on August 27)