Chinese waitress walks free after killing official

Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:37am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese waitress who killed a government official when he assaulted her was set free on Tuesday, ending a case that sparked online debate over widespread abuse of power.

Deng Yujiao was originally detained on suspicion of murder but was found guilty of the lesser charge of causing injury with intent, said.

Deng stabbed township official Deng Guida to death at a bathhouse on May 10 in central Hubei province when he assaulted her after she refused to provide "special services" -- slang for sex.

Deng Guida had pulled out a stack of cash and tossed it at Deng Yujiao, before pushing her down on a sofa, a county government statement said. The waitress picked up a knife and stabbed him.

But her "mood disorder" limited her criminal responsibility, Caijing said, citing the court decision.

She was released on bail on May 27 after the case generated intense local media coverage and criticism from Internet users, many of whom see the woman as a symbol of powerlessness before officials wielding power and wealth.

Last year, migrant worker Yang Jia gained widespread sympathy after he hacked six policemen to death in Shanghai. Yang said they had beaten and abused him after he was detained on suspicion of stealing a bicycle. He was executed in November.

(Reporting by Yu Le and Nick Macfie; Editing by Sugita Katyal)