China to execute former street vendor, provoking outcry

China to execute former street vendor, provoking outcry

BEIJING - China will execute a street food vendor who stabbed two urban security officials following a street dispute, a court said Wednesday, provoking outrage online.

China's Supreme Court upheld a death sentence against Xia Junfeng, who murdered two "city management" officials after a dispute over his streetside stall in 2011, the Shenyang Intermediate People's court in northeast China said in a verified social media account.

The execution would be carried out Wednesday, the Shenyang court added.

Xia had appealed his sentence on the grounds he killed the two officers in self-defence when they savagely attacked him and others in the city of Shenyang as he sold food, reportedly barbecued meat, on the street.

Xia's case drew widespread sympathy amid regular reports of abuses by China's quasi-police city management officials.

The officials, known as chengguan, "have earned a reputation for brutality and impunity... They are now synonymous for many Chinese citizens with physical violence, illegal detention, and theft," a spokeswoman for advocacy group Human Rights Watch said last year.

Hundreds of people rioted in southwest China in 2011 after chengguan reportedly beat a disabled street vendor to death, while the alleged murder of a street vendor in southern China in July provoked a nationwide outcry.

Xia's death sentence was the most discussed topic on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, on Wednesday, where many expressed sympathy for him and called the verdict unjust.

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