Beating video revives debate on violence against women

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For four long minutes, the women were badly beaten by a group of men. The scene takes place on June 10 in a restaurant in Tangshan, Hebei Province, northeast China. The attack, filmed by CCTV, has reignited the debate about violence against women in China.

The scene was filmed by two surveillance cameras, one of which is located inside and the other is placed on the restaurant’s balcony. may shock video, We decided to broadcast only screenshots.

Screenshot from the video. The woman in white sitting with her friends tries to fend off the man in the khaki jacket. © France 24 Observers

Follow the scene outside the restaurant.  Another woman helps, who is thrown to the ground.  The man in the white shirt walks towards her, then kicks her again.
Follow the scene outside the restaurant. Another woman helps, who is thrown to the ground. The man in the white shirt walks towards her, then kicks her again. © France 24 Observers

In the video, we see a man in a khaki jacket touching the back of a woman in white eating with two friends. She pushed him away twice with her hand, before punching her in the face. Violence escalates: The woman in white and her friend try to defend themselves by throwing bottles at her. Several men then rushed to the scene and beat the two women: one being beaten on a chair, the other being dragged by her hair outside the restaurant where she was being beaten.

A second surveillance camera captures the rest of the scene outside the restaurant. Once on the balcony, the men continued to attack one of the women, punching and kicking her. Throughout the scene, women trying to intervene are also abused. One of them is dropped on a staircase in front of the restaurant.

Nine men involved in the case were arrested on June 13 according to Global Time which also reported that two of the victims, who were taken to hospital, are in stable condition. In the Chinese media and online, the case was specifically linked to the gangs rampant in Tangshan.

But on Chinese social networks, the video above all reignited the debate over violence against women in China.

On Weibo (the equivalent of Twitter in China), hashtags associated with the attack video garnered hundreds of millions of views over the weekend of June 11-12.

For many users, these images will show above all that gender-based violence is still very common in China. “The main problem of this incident is the social status of Chinese women,” said a very popular comment on Weibo, which has received 146 thousand likes.

Online Solidarity

Several women who identify with those featured in the video expressed their solidarity on Weibo:

The translated post below got 146,000 mentions
The translated post below has garnered 146,000 likes. © Webo

They were just friends who met after work and were badly beaten for refusing to start a conversation. If we don’t say anything today, we know very well who will be next.

Comments posted in response to the assault video with the hashtag
Comments were posted in response to the video of the assault, along with the hashtag “Tangshan Women’s Federation responds to assault at barbecue.” Translate the first and second comment below © Webo

I like to eat grilled meat in restaurants until I’m me. I love partying with my friends, even being me. If I get bullied and resist, it can happen to me. I don’t know how to defend myself, so it could be me!

“The fundamental problem of this incident is the social status of Chinese women.”

Some also indicated the passivity of some of the people on the site at the time of the attack. “There is no man standing to help the girls” Can we read in a comment. “Why are none of the people around us calling the police ? “, ask another.

On Weibo, users tried to find mitigating circumstances for the attackers, highlighting for example the fact that they were drunk, or that the women who were attacked initially responded to them. Many women rose to denounce these arguments.

Thus the user compares those making this kind of talk to the passive men in the video watching the scene:

The post has received nearly 60,000 mentions
The post got nearly 60,000 likes. translation below © Webo

I spent the night on Weibo, I did not see a single man express a sense of shame (…). Some hastened to distance themselves, advising women not to respond in case of aggression (…).

Then I understood why dozens of men in the restaurant could stand still and watch without startling several girls being badly beaten. What they were thinking is like words [certains] men online.

Did that little barbecue bring together dozens of the worst and most careless men in the country? No, they are just the embodiment of a patriarchal ideology, a patriarchal system (…) “

Many Internet users, like this one, denounced a deeper social problem. As in this comment on Weibo:

“Why do we teach girls to protect themselves? This society should teach boys to respect women (…).”

In the days following the incident, calls to respect women multiplied on Weibo. But at the same time, many users called for avoiding a gendered reading of the event, arguing that it could happen “for both men and women” and called to avoid a “war between the sexes”. This reading network, which particularly highlights the issue of crime in organized gangs, appears to be favored by local authorities.

The complex debate over violence against women

Violence against women is reported regularly in China. In January 2022, the fate of a woman bound by her husband boiled over in social networks, prompting Prime Minister Li Keqiang to pledge to end trafficking in women and children in the country.

However, the discussion of violence against women must deal with censorship. On social networks, many hashtags related to feminism are blocked. Some women who accused powerful men of sexual violence were silenced. In the debate that followed the video broadcast of the barbecue, Weibo also announced that it had suspended nearly a thousand accounts, which, among other things, fueled the gender war, the New York Times reports.

>> Read on the Monitors website : #MeToo in China: Faced with highly reactive censorship, feminists sentenced to remain anonymous

Last February, it became impossible to evoke Peng Shuai, the tennis player who accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of rape. She even completely disappeared from public life after this case, before reappearing and denying that she had made such accusations.

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