TAIPEI • The mother of a four-year- old girl who was brutally killed by a man in an apparent random attack has touched many Taiwanese with her composure and loving message to her slain child, even as public outrage over the shocking incident threatens to boil over.
"Fortunately, I had held you tightly and told you I loved you every day," Ms Claire Wang, 36, wrote in a post on her Facebook account on Tuesday, the day after the tragedy.
The message was accompanied by a photo of her holding her daughter nicknamed "Little Light Bulb" in her arms with her husband by their side. The photograph was published with Ms Wang's permission, Central News Agency said.
On Monday, Ms Wang appeared before dozens of TV cameras and journalists just hours after witnessing the killing of her child by a knife-wielding man on a Taipei street.
Although visibly traumatised and tearful, she spoke coherently about the incident and how she tried but failed to protect her child.
The suspect, 33-year-old Wang Ching-yu, had grabbed the child from behind and decapitated her with a cleaver as she was riding a bicycle near Ms Wang, reported Agence France-Presse news agency.
Police said Wang has a criminal record for drug offences and had undergone psychiatric treatment. He was beaten up by an angry mob on Tuesday while being transferred from a Taipei police station to the prosecutor's office for questioning.
But amid widespread calls for the killer to be executed immediately and for a mandatory death penalty for people convicted of killing children, Ms Wang has been one of the few to call for calm and reason even as she mourned her loss.
"I believe the suspects in these kinds of random killings lose their minds at that moment," Ms Wang told TV reporters at the police station on Monday.
"This is not a problem that can be solved by passing a law," she said. "I hope we can address the problem at its root, from the perspective of family and education, so that there will no longer be people like him (the perpetrator) in our society."
Ms Wang and her 44-year-old husband David Liu graduated from the University of Southern California, Central News Agency reported. Mr Liu works in the high-tech sector, while Ms Wang is a stay-at-home mum. They have three other children, a nine-year-old girl and two-year-old twins.
Ms Wang, who says she is a freethinker, seemed determined to turn the tragedy into a lesson for the greater good.
She wrote in her Facebook post: "Please keep trusting people because society is still beautiful... Please give your dearest family members a hug. That would be the most comforting and caring thing you could do for us."
Her composure and magnanimity have been widely praised.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said on Facebook: "The mother's calmness and perseverance were admirable and heartbreaking."
A Facebook user by the name of Candice Hsu posted on Ms Wang's wall: "You have set a fine example for bereaved families... I wish you well, you have been through so much."
Yesterday, the grieving mother announced, with her husband by her side, that the public was welcome to visit her daughter's wake, but asked that mourners come "without hatred in your heart".
"I have never believed that hatred and recrimination can solve problems," Ms Wang said in a message printed on a card placed at the entrance to the wake.
"That's why we have always educated her (Little Light Bulb) in a loving, gentle way... She has accomplished her mission in this beautiful world and left without a care. I hope she can go on her way surrounded by love."