Skip to main content

Body of baby killed in China carjacking found

By Paul Armstrong and Josh Levs, CNN
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 0058 GMT (0858 HKT)
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
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0414 GMT (1214 HKT)
Hong Kong's narrow streets were once a dazzling gallery of neon, where banks and even bordellos plied their trade under sizzling tubular signs.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive, including former aides to the retired security chief.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
As thousands of Hong Kongers prepare for an annual protest, voices in China's press warn pro-democracy activism is a bad idea.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT)
Hong Kongers are demanding the right to directly elect their next leader, setting up a face-off with Beijing.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 0638 GMT (1438 HKT)
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 0812 GMT (1612 HKT)
Hong Kongers have reacted angrily to a Chinese government white paper affirming Beijing's control over the territory.
The emphasis on national glory -- rather than purely personal achievement -- is key.
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Rapid development hasn't just boosted the economy -- it has opened up vast swathes of the country, says a man who has spent much of his life exploring it.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.
ADVERTISEMENT