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Shamed star shows his hypocrisy

By Craig Mcintosh (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-05-23 10:27
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Shamed star shows his hypocrisy

Singer who called for boycott of music students needs to ask himself hard question

With all the hoohar about the new road safety rules, I knew it would only be a matter of time before a celebrity was caught drunk behind the wheel. How ironic that it should be Gao Xiaosong.

A well-known music producer and director, he became the first big fish to be hooked and hung out to dry by police last week when he caused a four-car pileup at an intersection in Dongzhimen. Tests showed he had 243 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, three times the legal limit.

After downing a bottle of wine and a bottle of Chinese spirit during a meal at a downtown Beijing hotel, he decided to steer (or more likely weave) his white SUV home on what is arguably one of the most challenging road networks in the world.

Luckily for him, no one was seriously injured that night. Yet, that fact does not excuse Gao's hypocrisy. Just months ago, he called for a boycott of all Xi'an Conservatory of Music graduates after they signed a favorable character testimony for Yao Jiaxin, a promising piano student who stabbed a woman to death last October after he accidentally knocked her down with his car and saw her attempting to memorize his license plate number.

"How can those who do not care for life love music?" he wrote on his micro blog. Good question - it's now one I'd like to hear Gao answer.

Anyone who gets behind the wheel when drunk is proving to the world that they have a blatant disregard for human life. If Gao had cared, he'd have left his SUV parked outside that restaurant and caught a cab home. He'd have thought about the deadly weapon he would become, steering a hulking machine at speeds that can kill while having a reaction time of a sedated panda. He would have thought about other road users' well being before he thought about his desire to get home by the quickest means possible.

I'm in no way comparing the crimes of Yao and Gao. Yet, it's fair to say the behavior of both of these men is inexcusable in modern society.

Gao may not have killed anyone, but by choosing to drive a car while under the influence of alcohol, he and the vast number of others who regularly do the same make an active decision to potentially harm other people.

When the performer goes before the judge, I expect to hear the usual excuse from his lawyers: he was too drunk to know what he was doing. Yet, this is incorrect. If he is compos mentis enough to start a car, put it into gear and drive away, he knew exactly what he was doing. I hope he faces the consequences and is justly penalized for his crime.

However, comments made last week by Zhang Jun, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, who said when drunken drivers "cause very little harm to society" they should not be tried as criminals, also cause me great concern.

Using a vague term like "little harm" when talking about the law sends a terrible message to those people who are looking for an effective solution to a real road safety problem. Is the risk of causing just one person's death not harm enough?

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