Tangshan attack: A controversial video recently sparked numerous comments on the Chinese net sparking a discussion on gender-based violence.
In a surveillance video, three women are seen eating at a BBQ restaurant when a man approaches their table and lays his hand on one of the woman’s back. The woman pulls him away, but he refuses to back down and grabs for her face again. As she tries to take away his hand, he smacks her and pushes her to the ground, and she falls the ground.
Her companions attempt to assist her, but they are also attacked by the man and his pals, who rush into the restaurant as the fight erupts. The men then take the first lady through the door by her hair, beating her with bottles and chairs and repeatedly stamping on her head as she lays bloodied on the pavement.
As the video spread like wildfire on Chinese social media, shock, and outrage rippled throughout. The incident – which occurred at 2:40 a.m. on Friday, in the northern city of Tangshan – had sparked widespread outrage by the evening, attracting hundreds of millions of views and dominating internet discourse throughout the weekend.
Many people were shocked that a lady was severely attacked just for refusing a man’s sexual pestering. Others chastised the cops for neglecting to act until the event went viral.
5 men in Tangshan (唐山), Hebei province, brutally assaulted a woman in a restaurant after she turned down unwanted attention from one of them. The woman suffered serious injuries, and the attack has sparked furious demands to address misogyny in China.— Byron Wan (@Byron_Wan) June 11, 2022
🔻 video – part #1
Tangshan police released a statement Friday in response to the outrage, stating they had identified the perpetrators and were “sparing no effort” to get them. According to Chinese authorities, all nine individuals engaged in the attack had been captured by Saturday afternoon, including four who had escaped to Jiangsu province, approximately 600 miles (965 kilometers) south.
According to authorities, two ladies were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and were in stable condition.
The incident has reignited debate in China about violence against women and gender inequality, with opponents claiming that despite increased awareness of gender issues among young women, the country remained a profoundly patriarchal society with entrenched sexism.
A spate of brutal assaults against women has prompted an outcry in recent years. A Tibetan YouTuber died last year when her ex-husband set her on fire as she was live-streaming to her social media followers. In October, the ex-husband was condemned to death. Earlier this year, a video showed a mother of eight tied by her neck in a hut in rural Jiangsu province. Authorities later confirmed that she was a victim of human trafficking after repeated denials.
“What happened at the Tangshan barbecue restaurant was not an isolated social incident, but part of systemic gender violence. We need to … acknowledge that we still live in an environment that supports, encourages, and drives men to engage in gender-based violence against women. Of course, we should take legal action to punish individual attackers and perpetrators. But without addressing systemic gender oppression, without changing the social norms that promote machismo and encourage violence, we’re just going to continue our anger in the next incident” said a widely shared social media article on China Digital Times (currently removed from the platform).
Such conversations, however, did not appear to be popular with the Chinese government, which has long repressed China’s feminist movement by detaining and suppressing activists and restricting internet exchanges. The WeChat article, as well as other social media posts addressing gender problems, have been removed from the internet. Weibo, China’s Twitter-like site, announced Saturday that it had disabled 992 accounts for violations such as “deliberately instigating gender conflict” when discussing the Tangshan incident.
Weibo’s official account posted some of the posts from the prohibited users, which contained violent and abusive language directed at Chinese women. Other banned Weibo tweets collected by CNN, on the other hand, were from users who expressed worry over violence against women and urged others to “keep speaking up.” Some state media accounts first characterized the man’s sexual harassment as “trying to strike up a conversation,” eliciting criticism from female readers.
Authorities and state media have attempted to depict the attack as an isolated incident, deflecting attention away from gender issues and toward local gang violence. According to state-run China National Radio, five of the suspects have criminal histories ranging from illegal detention to deliberate injuring of others. Tangshan officials started a two-week campaign to combat organized crime on Sunday.
Photos and videos uploaded on social media by Tangshan locals show police officers, some armed with weapons, standing guard behind customers at outdoor BBQ restaurants; some utilized loudspeakers to tell diners not to “drink too much” and “don’t strike up discussions with strangers.”
Transgressors have also been deterred by the comparatively modest penalties for gender assault. Following the Tangshan attack, social media users re-shared state media stories from a similar occurrence in 2020. A 25-year-old lady was attacked by a gang of men until she fell out in a restaurant in eastern Zhejiang province after she refused a man’s sexual pestering. She stayed in the hospital for 15 days, while the guys were held for 10 to 13 days. There were no more charges filed.