China’s Tangshan women’s assault leads to a police investigation

China’s Tangshan women’s assault leads to a police investigation

In the early hours of June 10, there was a harrowing attack on four women at a restaurant in the northern city of Tangshan in the Hebei province of China after one of the women rejected a man’s advances. A surveillance video of the attack, which showed the attackers dragging the women by their hair, throwing chairs at them, hitting them with bottles and kicking them in the head while onlookers tried to look away, sparked outrage on social media. Since then, it has revived the #Metoo movement, which originated in the West but has yet to gain the same traction in China. Nine suspects have been arrested over the incident, with some also suspected of other crimes like money laundering.

The hashtag “Tangshan beaten girls follow-up" was viewed over 200 million times the following day and received over 220,000 comments, with many demanding to know what happened to the women. Hours after the attack, the local police said two women were hospitalized with “non-life-threatening injuries" and were in “stable condition," but there haven’t been any updates on their condition since then.

Now China is launching an investigation into the law enforcement officials over their handling of the incident, with some questioning whether the police were protecting gangsters. CCTV reported Tuesday that five officers, including Tangshan’s police chief Ma Aijun, were being investigated for “severe disciplinary violations."

Please note that the following video contains graphic footage of violence against women.

Key comments:

“You authorities are denying rumors everyday. Where is your evidence?" asked a Weibo user.

“Why are rumors flying everywhere? Because we can’t find a single sentence of truth anywhere," said another.

“What happened at the Tangshan BBQ restaurant was not an isolated social incident, but part of the entire system of gender-based violence,” read an article widely shared on social media about the incident. “Therefore, we need to explicitly reject the ‘desystematization’ of gender-based violence and gender issues, and acknowledge that there are still forces in our environment that support, encourage, and drive men to engage in gender-based violence against women.”