Man denies intentional murder of ex-girlfriend’s roommate at trial in Tokyo
Photo of Jiang Ge from Sina Weibo
A 25-year-old Chinese graduate student studying in Japan denied the charge of intentional murder of his ex-girlfriend’s roommate at a trial in Tokyo this week, in a case which triggered a nationwide ethical debate in China in recent months.
According to Phoenix TV which has been following the case from Tokyo, while Chen Shifeng, the defendant, admitted that he did stab Jiang Ge several times to death, he claimed that the first one on Jiang’s neck, which was fatal, was an accident, as Jiang was the one who attempted to stab at him and he was only trying to protect himself. 
Also, Chen claimed that the knife which caused the death of Jiang was not his own, but he was not sure whether it belonged to Jiang or was given by Liu Xin, his ex-girlfriend, to Jiang. 
These two details might play a key role in the final verdict on Chen, which will be given on December 20, according to Chinese media.
On Thursday, the fourth day of the trial, when asked about the reason for killing Jiang, Chen said he didn’t mean to do so, but only tried to talk with Jiang to ease his relationship with Liu, according to The Paper. He also said it only took one to two seconds before he decided to kill Jiang, after Jiang was accidentally stabbed at neck. 
Chen said after Jiang was first stabbed, he thought it looked no different from a murder, and it would create a huge financial burden for his family to pay for Jiang’s treatment if Jiang was not dead at that moment. Plus no one was witnessing what was happening then, so he decided to take the chance to kill Jiang, The Paper quoted Chen as saying. 
According to the report, Chen also said the tragedy occurred because he had some problem when dealing with interpersonal relationship and if he hadn’t annoyed Liu after they broke up, the tragedy could have been avoided. 
After breaking up with Chen, Liu moved into Jiang’s apartment in September last year, two months before Jiang was killed on November 3 in the corridor of her apartment in Tokyo. The 24-year girl from Qingdao in Shandong Province was found dead with 11-12 wounds on her neck. In December last year, Japanese police confirmed Jiang was killed by Chen after confirmation of a DNA match, the Beijing Youth Daily reported at the time. 
After Chen and Liu broke up, Chen once threatened Liu to release her private photos and Liu once lied to Chen that she was pregnant, according to Chinese media reports. Chen allegedly went to Jiang’s apartment to look for Liu on the afternoon of November 2, 2016, and the three quarreled before they left Jiang’s apartment. 
Later at night, Liu and Jiang went back to the apartment, but Liu went into the apartment first to change her pants stained by menstruation, while Jiang was behind Liu. When Jiang half-opened the door and was about to enter the room, Chen patted Jiang on the shoulder. Chen said it was at that time Liu passed the knife to Jiang, but later said he was not sure whether it was given by Liu to Jiang, or taken by Jiang from the beginning. 
The case captured nationwide attention in May this year after Jiang Qiulian, Jiang’s mother who criticized Liu for purposely locking Jiang out when she was attacked, exposed personal information of Liu and her family on social media and asked netizens for help in tracing Liu down. Jiang has criticized Liu for never explaining the details of Jiang Ge’s death to her, avoiding any contact with her and not even sending her condolences after the murder. 
On Wednesday, Liu testified in court through a video call saying that she neither locked the door, nor passed the knife to Jiang, which, however, was odd from the recorded testimony provided by the police. It is so far unclear whether Liu would face criminal liability in final verdict.
On November 4, Jiang Qiulian went to Japan to collect signatures for a petition for death penalty to Chen, and on December 1, she handed in a petition with more than 4.5 million signatures to the court in Tokyo, according to her microblog
The case is now one of the most discussed topics on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, with more than 93,000 comments under the hashtag of Trial of Jiang Ge Case which has been viewed for 370 million times as of Thursday. Other hashtags related to the case have also been created. 
According to Jiang’s Japanese lawyer, while it would be unlikely that Chen will be given death penalty under Japanese law, he could be sentenced with 15 to 20 years in jail, depending on whether it was an intentional murder.


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