Li Gang incident
The Li Gang incident occurred on the evening of October 16, 2010, inside Hebei University in Baoding in Hebei province, when a black Volkswagen Magotan traveling down a narrow lane hit two university students. One of them, 20-year-old Chen Xiaofeng (陈晓凤), a student from Shijiazhuang at the Electronic Information Engineering College died later in hospital. The other victim, Zhang Jingjing, aged 19, remained in a stable condition, albeit suffering from a fractured left leg. The drunk driver, 22-year-old Li Qiming (李启铭), tried to escape the scene and continued driving to the female dormitory to drop off his girlfriend. When arrested by security guards, convinced his father's position would give him immunity, he shouted out: "Go ahead, sue me if you dare. My dad is Li Gang!"
After outrage erupted on Chinese internet forums, a human flesh search engine revealed that Li Gang was the deputy director of the local public security bureau. Four days after the incident, an online poetry contest invited entrants to incorporate the sentence "My father is Li Gang" (我爸是李刚, pinyin: Wǒ bà shì Lǐ Gāng) into classical Chinese poems. The contest was created by a female blogger in northern China nicknamed Piggy Feet Beta on MOP, a popular Chinese Bulletin Board System, and received more than 6,000 submissions. The phrase has since become a popular internet catchphrase and meme within China, frequently seen on various forums and message boards, and in similar competitions using ad slogans and song lyrics, and used ironically in conversation by speakers trying to avoid responsibility.
Communist Party officials tried at first to suppress reports of the incident, but their efforts backfired. During an interview with China Central Television on 21 October, Li Gang wept in an apology; then on 22 October, a video showing Li Qiming's apology was released. The apology was rejected by the victims' families, the elder brother of Chen Xiaofeng believing the apology to be a political stunt. The People's Daily, in an editorial published on October 26, urged authorities to take that affair into their own hands and shed light on the matter.
On October 29, the South China Morning Post and other sources revealed that a directive from the Central Propaganda Department, issued on October 28, required that there be "no more hype regarding the disturbance over traffic at Hebei University," and ordered Chinese newspapers to recall their reporters from Baoding. On November 1, Zhang Kai, the attorney for the relatives of Chen Xiaofeng, was abruptly asked to terminate his representation in this case, after the law firm was cautioned by the Beijing Bureau of Justice, according to a blog by Wang Keqin. The same day, Director Liu of Baoding Traffic Police Division and clerks from Wangdu County proposed payment of to the relatives of Chen Xiaofeng to settle the case.
In January 2011, Li Qiming was arrested. He was sentenced to six years in jail and ordered to pay the equivalent of $69,900 in compensation to the family of Chen Xiaofeng. Li was also ordered to pay $13,800 to the injured woman.
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- China’s Censors Misfire in Abuse-of-Power Case By Michael Wines, November 17, 2010; The New York Times