On May 15th, Fuzhou Public Security Bureau started a campaign to review background information on all drivers registered with local Internet-based ride hailing services. The new measure was put in place following a passenger killing that shoved the country in shock.
Mingzhou Li, 21, a flight stewdess, was found dead last Saturday after hailing a ride on Didi Chuxing, from her hotel near the airport to downtown Zhengzhou at night in northern Chinese province of Henan. The local police said Ms. Li had been raped and killed by her driver. In a press release, Didi apologized to the public and admitted ‘guilt’ in this case. Subsequently Didi launched an internal investigation which showed the driver/killer was the son of the person who registered to work, and the change was not spotted by Didi’s night mode facial recognition as a result of a ‘system dysfunction’. Didi’s report also indicated absence of adequate action on a recent complaint about verbal harassment against the same driver by a different female passenger. Nationwide criticism and concerns were poured on the car-hailing company overnight, putting blames on Didi’s lack of proper screening and failure to keep its safety mechanism functioning. Additionally, media as well as the public opened fire on the ‘social’ function planted by Didi Hitch, which allowed drivers to write comment on passengers they took. The comments are visible to other drivers of hitch service before the ride they are going to provide, and many comments tend to focus on passengers’ appearance.
According to local media, the PSB background check in Fuzhou is proclaimed to be a strict one – covering clearance on drivers’ criminal record, drug-use history, DUI record and questionable driving behavior in the past. As per the statistics provided by Fuzhou Road Safety Departments, over 60,000 vehicles had been registered with all of the car hailing companies licensed to operate in Fuzhou by December 2017. The drivers who had yet to complete the new screening process with Fuzhou PSB are prohibited to take any paying passengers.