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Waitress earns public sympathy

A 21-YEAR-OLD karaoke bar waitress in Hubei Province has earned broad public sympathy and support after she was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a government official who allegedly cornered her in a hotel spa and demanded sex.

Fans are portraying Deng Yujiao as a folk hero who lashed out against injustice and have posted songs and poems online praising her.

A pair of lawyers has volunteered to represent her and coverage of her case in the media has been sympathetic.

The outpouring of support even prompted the local government in Badong City to take the extraordinary step of posting a statement online yesterday promising she would receive fair treatment.

Deng's popularity reflects widespread anger over corruption and abuse of power by some government officials.

News reports have cited police as saying Deng turned herself in on May 10 shortly after she allegedly used a fruit knife to stab Deng Guida, a local official. They also said she attacked his colleague Huang Dezhi at Badong's Xiongfeng Hotel.

Deng Guida, 43, died later, and Huang, 41, suffered a cut on his arm. The two Dengs are not related.

The Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper said Deng Guida found the waitress in the laundry room of a bathhouse a few floors below the bar where she worked and demanded sex. When she refused, he allegedly forced her down on a couch and blocked her from leaving. Deng then attacked the men with a fruit knife she had in her bag, the paper said.

The waitress's story has prompted loads of supportive posts on Websites.

A Netizen posting under the name WarriorAngel called Deng "the best girl on the planet." Another writing under the name Noble Law described her as "beautiful and fierce."

The Badong government statement, posted on its Website, sought to reassure the public that Deng would be given a just hearing.

"The work team handling the Deng Yujiao case has committed itself to being transparent, unbiased, objective and just," spokesman Ouyang Kaiping was quoted as saying.

It also said Deng had yet to be charged in the case.


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