One month ahead of the trial of a Chinese murderer in Japan, thousands of signatures have been collected to demand the death penalty for the man who stabbed a Chinese girl to death at her doorstep in Tokyo.
The suspect, Chen Shifeng, is scheduled to stand trial on December 11 in Tokyo for the murder of 24-year-old Chinese student Jiang Ge on November 3, 2016, in the capital of Japan.
Jiang's mother began to collect public signatures in August to call for the death penalty for Chen. She also flew to Japan this past weekend to garner more support. There is no exact record on the total number of signatures, but in lettered signatures alone, she has received 2,249 names as of October 29. On Sina Weibo, posts containing the link to the online petition were reposted tens of thousands of times.
"We understand that one is rarely sentenced to death in Japan, but we believe that it is one of the most heinous crimes to brutally kill an innocent girl due to his personal grudge with someone else. The suspect Chen Shifeng also showed no remorse after leaving the victim's family in pieces. We believe that Chen Shifeng must pay for his crimes and we plead for Japanese authorities to protect law-abiding citizens' human rights and sentence Chen Shifeng to death," said the petition letter, which was addressed to the Japanese judges and the trial jury in the name of a Chinese citizen.
Amid the public outcry to punish the murderer, Jiang's roommate Liu Xin has also come under criticism. Liu is an ex-girlfriend of Chen, and their former relationship is allegedly one reason for Jiang's death.
Chen allegedly followed Jiang back home to seek Liu when the murder took place. Liu allegedly refused to let Chen in when Jiang was attacked, but later claimed that she heard nothing and that the door was unlocked. However, neighbors say that they heard Jiang's desperate scream for help.
Liu's absence of apology and comfort to Jiang's family triggered even wider discussions as well as criticisms. She has also reportedly threatened to withdraw from the police investigation after her personal information was released online during her avoidance of contact with Jiang's family.
Many have criticized Liu's "lack of conscience" and want to hold Liu legally responsible for the death of Jiang Ge. Some legal experts have pointed out that while Liu may not be legally accountable, she should not be exempt from moral judgment.