A decision by police to absolve a cyclist who killed his attacker in East China's Jiangsu Province won popular support and media approval on Sunday, which was welcomed by experts as demonstrating how to practice "self-defense."
Kunshan police released a statement on Saturday saying that in killing his attacker on Monday, Yu Haiming was acting in self-defense and all other possibilities were excluded.
Attacker, Liu Hailong's behavior seriously endangered Yu's personal safety and he was killed by Yu during the ongoing assault, and thus, the killing was defined as legitimate self-defense, Kunshan police said in the statement.
Although the lethal stabs were slightly separated from Yu's chase and attempt to stab Liu, it was continuous self-defense, the police said.
On August 27, Yu was waiting at a traffic light in the non-motorized vehicle lane when a BMW sedan driven by Liu Hailong veered into his lane.
The two sides quarreled before Liu pushed and kicked Yu. Liu retrieved a 59-centimeter knife from the car and slashed Yu several times.
Yu grabbed the knife before Liu after it was knocked to the ground. He then stabbed Liu in the abdomen, buttocks, right chest, left shoulder and left elbow.
The whole process lasted seven seconds, according to the police report.
The injured Liu ran toward the car and Yu tried to stab him two more times, but missed.
Yu grabbed Liu's mobile phone from the car and handed it and the knife to the police when they arrived at the scene, claiming he acted to prevent Liu from calling his friends for revenge.
Liu, 36, died after the attack and the 41-year-old Yu suffered two wounds that were not life-threatening.
The police exoneration of Yu sparked discussions on Chinese social media where a majority appeared to support the police decision to not forward the case to court as a "victory of the law."
Chinese courts have rarely issued any guidelines or rulings on self-defense.
Experts said this case is expected to boost people's awareness of self-defense.
In such a tense rage, it was too much to expect the defendant to control his actions on the basis of judging whether the attacker had lost his ability to continue with the assault, Zhang Xinnian, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"We should take the victim's state of mind into consideration instead of interpret the law narrowly," Zhang said.
"I hope the case could activate 'zombie-like terms' in the Criminal Law about self-defense," Zhang said.
Xu Xin, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology's School of Law, told the Global Times on Sunday the case could encourage police, prosecutors and courts to make more daring judgments of legitimate self-defense in similar cases.
"The definition of legitimate self-defense by law is vague, which needs further explanation by judges," Xu said.
Xu said the case could help legal authorities put themselves in the position of the defendants to consider and judge if the self-defense actions were excessive.