Update: Twenty-eight people have been charged in the June assault on multiple women at a restaurant in China that sparked outrage regarding violence against women in the country. Authorities say the incident and charges are connected to gang activity in the area, the Washington Post reports. Authorities had previously said they were investigating whether police were protecting gangsters in the area, and the 28 people charged have reportedly been involved in illegal activities including robbery, illegal imprisonment, and running illegal casinos since 2012. Seven of the 28 are believed to be those involved in the actual attack. Eight police officials in the city have also been detained as authorities probe the possible corruption, bribery, and abuse of power issues, CNN reports. Also Monday, a local police officer announced that evidence showed none of the women had been sexually assaulted. Our original story from June 13 follows:
Footage of a brutal beating in China has gone viral, renewing the conversation there about gender-based violence against women. The incident took place Friday in the northeastern city of Tangshan, where shortly after 2:30am local time a group of women were attacked at a barbecue restaurant. Reuters has video (warning: It's graphic) that shows a man approaching a woman dining with friends and trying to interact with her and touch her, advances she firmly rebuffs. That's when the man is seen striking her, setting off a chain reaction in which other men rush into the eatery and start beating multiple women diners.
The first woman who was attacked is even dragged outside into the street, where the group of men "[smash] her with bottles and chairs and repeatedly [stomp] on her head as she lays on the sidewalk, her clothes stained with blood," per CNN. The BBC notes that two women ended up hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries in stable condition, while two others suffered minor injuries. All nine suspects said to have been involved in the attack were arrested by Saturday on suspicion of violent assault and "provoking trouble"—including four men who police said turned up 600 miles south, in Jiangsu province.
After the video went viral, it renewed heated debate about gender-based violence in China, which critics say remains a patriarchal society with rampant misogyny, sexual harassment, and violence against women. "What happened at the Tangshan barbecue restaurant was not an isolated social incident, but part of systemic gender violence," a widely read article on Chinese social media asserted, per CNN, which notes multiple high-profile cases over the past few years—including a Tibetan vlogger who died after being set on fire by her husband during a livestream. The news outlet notes that social media posts regarding the incident—both those using disparaging language toward women and those advocating for speaking out against the violence—appear to be getting censored. (Read more China stories.)