Surveillance footage of men abusing women in a restaurant in Tangshan, a city in China’s northeast, has sparked widespread indignation on Chinese social media, triggering calls for punishment from official media and reigniting a debate over the treatment of women.
The disturbing video, which has gone viral on China’s Weibo social media network, depicts a man approaching a table at a barbecue restaurant at 2:40 a.m. local time on Friday, caressing a woman, and then punching her after she pulls him away.
A number of males are observed viciously assaulting the woman and her eating companions during the ensuing melee. Two ladies were hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the local police.
As of Saturday afternoon, all nine suspects in the case have been apprehended, and an investigation is underway, according to a Weibo post by the local Public Security Bureau.
The assault dominated Chinese social media on Saturday, occupying six of the top ten most-discussed topics on Weibo. In a brief online remark, state television demanded harsh punishment for the suspects.
However, in light of other recent high-profile examples of maltreatment of women, a widely circulated WeChat post on Saturday contested the official description of the assault as a straightforward act of violence.
“This occurred in a culture where violence against women is pervasive… To ignore and repress the gender perspective is to deny the violence that individuals — particularly women — endure “the anonymous message stated.
China Women’s News, a publication of the All-China Women’s Federation, stated in a column on Saturday that “such heinous examples of significant abuses of women’s rights and interests can and must be met with zero tolerance.”