Skip to main content

Body of baby killed in China carjacking found

By Paul Armstrong and Josh Levs, CNN
updated 7:58 PM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The body of Baby Haobo was found Wednesday
  • Thousands turned out to mourn the child's death
  • A car dealership's ad sparks fury
  • A man confesses to killing the baby he found in a car he stole, state-run news agency says

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A car theft in China that spiraled into a manhunt and a baby's killing has left the country grieving and sparked outrage on social media.

The body of the infant, whose name was Haobo, was found buried in the snow Wednesday. His father, Xu Jialin, said he and his wife identified their two-month-old son, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

Thousands gathered in a square Tuesday night in Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, to mourn the baby, killed by "a thief who found the missing boy sleeping in a car he had stolen," Xinhua reported.

The 48-year-old man, identified as Zhou Xijun, turned himself in to police Tuesday and confessed that he had killed the baby and buried him in the snow, Xinhua reported, citing local police.

Xu, the father, had parked his car Monday in front of the supermarket he runs in Changchun and entered the store to turn on a stove, leaving his son in the back seat with the car's engine still running, according to state-run news reports.

Xu returned minutes later to find his car was missing. He called police immediately.

Zhou had allegedly stolen the grey Toyota SUV and discovered the child on the backseat as he drove the vehicle away.

More than 8,000 police and hundreds of volunteers joined a search for the child for two days.

Zhou has confessed "that he parked the car on the roadside and choked the baby about an hour after he stole the car. He then abandoned the baby's clothes and the car in the nearby city of Gongzhuling," Xinhua reported.

The car's license plate and the child's clothes were found in a ditch 500 meters away from the car.

Fury on social media

News of the murder provoked a storm of anger on Chinese social media, particularly Weibo, the country's version of Twitter.

While many people demanded the death penalty for Zhou, others questioned why the baby had been left in the car.

"What kind of people will leave their babies alone in cars?" asked @Qiyanhenxiaozhang.

"The parents abandoned their children. When they leave their baby in the car, they should know something bad might happen," posted @Lingluandabaomaoyeye.

Some pointed the finger at the media.

"Everywhere is posting information about the baby, and they irritated the killer and provoked his desperate act. The media has done a really bad work," said Shenshang.

"The media surely has the rights to spread information, but they should consider the baby's safety as well," said another netizen, @zhongguorenshidiqiushangdeqiji.

Anger over car ad

Another twist has led to widespread anger at a car dealership that used the incident to push the features of its vehicles.

A Buick dealership cited the Baby Haobo incident -- before it was known that the child had been killed -- to advertise its OnStar GPS system, which allows the owner "to track and lock down a stolen vehicle at any time and place."

Some people followed up with social media posts saying they won't buy a Buick.

The Buick dealership, Liaoning Tianhe, apologized on Weibo to the family of the victim and to the public for the "emotional damage" it caused.

CNN's Feng Ke and Dayu Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:57 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Chinese students show a handmade red ribbon one day ahead of the the World AIDS Day, at a school in Hanshan, east China's Anhui province on November 30, 2009.
Over 200 Chinese villagers in Sichuan province have signed a petition to banish a HIV-positive eight-year-old boy, state media reported.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane, forcing the Nanjing-bound plane to turn back to Bangkok.
updated 12:03 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
updated 7:21 PM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Like Beijing today, Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons.
updated 12:42 AM EST, Sat December 6, 2014
At the height of his power, Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
updated 3:26 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
updated 1:48 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
updated 3:55 AM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Despite an anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past 12 months.
updated 7:01 AM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
A 24-hour Taipei bookstore is a hangout for hipsters as well as bookworms.
updated 8:53 PM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
updated 5:57 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT