Thousands took to the streets of Changchun in north-eastern China today for a candlelight vigil to mourn a baby who was strangled by a carjacker, in a case that has appalled the whole country.
Two-month-old Xu Haobo was asleep in the back seat of his parents’ car early Monday morning when his father left him in the car and ran into a shop owned by the family to turn on the heating. When he came out, the car was gone, prompting a manhunt involving 3,500 police officers.
Former labour camp inmate Zhou Xijun, 48, turned himself in the following day. He confessed that he had driven to Gongzhuling County, about 35 miles southwest of Changchun, where he strangled the baby and buried him in snow. On Tuesday morning, inspectors identified the stolen car in a parking lot 20 miles outside the city. The infant’s clothing was found nearby.
Within an hour of the news of the child’s death, there were 60,000 messages of sympathy on the Weibo service, many calling for Mr Zhou’s execution. “How can such a cruel person exist in the world?” wrote one microblogger.
The baby’s mother was reported by state media to have had a heart attack when informed of her son’s death.