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Calls for Action against School Violence in China after Group Attack on 12-Year-Old Girl Video Goes Viral

Another incident shows the gravity of China’s school bullying problem.

Manya Koetse

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Footage showing a brutal beating of a 12-year-old girl in Yunnan has sparked anger on Chinese social media, leading to widespread calls to step up the fight against school violence in China.

A bystander video showing various boys beating up a girl in Chuxiong, Yunnan, has gone viral on Chinese social media.

The footage (linkviewer discretion advised) shows how at least three different young men kick and beat the girl while laughing, continuing their assault when she is laying on the ground.

One hashtag page relating to the topic received over 500 million views on Weibo today.

According to various Chinese media reports, the incident occurred on May 25 in Lufeng county, Chuxiong, Yunnan Province. Four boys from 14 to 15 years old attacked the 12-year-old girl after they had an argument at school. The beating took place right after schooltime at an off-campus location.

Since May 27, the video started circulated online through chat groups on Chinese messenger app WeChat before it went viral on Weibo.

Yunnan Police stated on social media that the boys’ guardians have since apologized to the girl, who has now received medical care. The incident is still under investigation.

Thousands of Weibo commenters have responded to the incident with anger and disbelief. “What’s wrong with these boys?! How could they beat a young girl with so many of them?!”, a typical comment said.

Many Chinese netizens place the video in a larger framework, expressing outrage over the continuing problem of “campus violence” (校园暴力) in China.

“Stand up against campus violence!”, many say: “When will this finally stop?”

 

An epidemic of school violence

 

China has been dealing with an epidemic of school violence for years, with so-called ‘campus violence videos’ (校园暴力视频) being a concerning trend on Chinese social media.

Several factors may explain the emergence of extreme bullying or ‘campus violence’ (校园暴力) in China over the past years, including peer pressure, broken families, feelings of insecurity and increased time spent online.

In 2016, Chinese netizens already urged authorities to address the problem of bullying in schools. In previous years, the prevention and punishment of this kind of violence have increasingly become a topic of focus for the Chinese government and state media.

Netizens are mainly outraged over the continuing trend of campus violence and the extreme bullying videos for both legal and cultural reasons.

Legally, perpetrators often barely face legal consequences for their actions. Although schools will generally punish perpetrators and make them apologize, minors under the age of 16 rarely face criminal punishment for their actions.

Culturally, school bullying is often not seen as a serious one, with parents downplaying violent incidents as ‘small fights’ between kids.

With the Yunnan incident being yet another among so many over the past years, many netizens are calling for urgent action and warn that young people who display such violent behavior now, will continue to do so as adults.

“When can campus violence finally end,” one Weibo commenter (@草莓配糖) writes: “They are just using their status as minors as a protective umbrella.”

It is not yet known if the boys involved in this incident will face legal punishments. It would not be the first time for underage perpetrators in campus violence incidents to be sentenced.

In 2017, a Beijing court sentenced a group of ‘school bullies’ to prison for assaulting classmates and posting a video of their abuse online. In November of 2016, three female students were also sentenced six to eight months in prison for assaulting classmates and uploading a video of it on the internet.

Read more on school bullying and campus violence in China here:

 

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    China Sex & Gender

    17-Year-Old High School Student in Guangdong ‘Marries’ a 14-Year-Old Girl

    Their family says they did not know the marriage was not legal.

    Manya Koetse

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    The Guangdong wedding of a 17-year-old high school student and a 14-year-old junior high school student went trending on Chinese social media on Monday. On Weibo alone, the topic received over 470 million views on November 30.

    The controversial wedding took place in the town of Guiyu (贵屿镇) on November 28. A short video of the couple having a ‘wedding reception’ dinner together has spread on various social media channels.

    In light of the commotion over the young married couple, Shantou’s Chaoyang district, in which Guiyu is located, publicly responded to the issue. According to official sources cited in the media, the parents of the children have a “weak understanding of the legal system.” Both sides agreed to the marriage, but did not officially apply for marriage registration. The marriage ceremony was done according to local rural customs.

    China globally is among the countries with the highest minimum age for marriage: 22 for men and 20 for women. Recent proposals to lower the marriage age in China have always triggered controversy on social media (here, here).

    By now, local authorities have intervened and ordered the young ‘bride’ to return to her own family, stating that her mother and father must fulfill their parental duties. They also advised the children to go back to school.

    On Weibo, many people denounce the children’s parents and say that having a “weak notion of the law” is not a sufficient explanation in this case, saying it is a violation of the law.

    Others expressed concern that such marriages still occur in present-day China. “Your mind and body have not even been fully developed yet at the age of 14, how can they let her marry?” “They’re still kids!”

    According to the latest reports, family members of the ‘newlyweds’ spoke to reporters, saying the boy and the girl, who is from a neighboring village, had met online and wanted to get married themselves. They had dropped out of school before their wedding.

    The boy’s family speaking to Pear Video reporters.

    The grandfather and grandmother on the boy’s side helped with the wedding preparations. In a recorded interview, the boy’s grandmother tearfully says: “We didn’t know it was against the law. We’re both old, and we didn’t know.”

    A tearful grandmother states she did not know the underage marriage was against the law.

    The family also declares that the girl has since been sent back to her parents and will continue to go to school.

    By Manya Koetse

    Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

    ©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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    China Insight

    Shandong Woman Dies after Suffering Abuse by In-Laws over Infertility

    Anger over Shandong abuse case: “Is this how the law protects women?!”

    Manya Koetse

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    The only photo of the victim on social media is a childhood photo.

    Just a month after the tragic story of a Chinese vlogger being killed by her husband triggered outrage on social media, another extreme domestic abuse case has gone trending on Weibo.

    This time, it concerns the story of the 22-year-old woman named Fang Yangyang (方洋洋) who lived in Fangzhuang village in Dezhou, Shandong Province. The woman passed away in 2019 after suffering prolonged abuse by her husband and in-laws. Chinese media report that the abuse was related to Fang’s infertility issues.

    Fang married her husband Zhang Bing (张丙) in November of 2016. It was an arranged marriage, with Zhang’s parents paying a bride price of 130,000 yuan (almost $20,000).

    When Fang did not get pregnant after marrying her husband, she started suffering severe emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband and in-laws, beginning in July of 2018. Zhang and his parents reportedly beat Fang with wooden rods, refused to let her eat, locked her up, and let her freeze outside in the cold.

    The in-law’s house on November 17, photo by Beijing News / Qiao Chi

    Fang, who weighed 180 pounds (80 kilograms) when she got married, only weighed 60 pounds (30 kilograms) in early 2019. Beijing News reports that Fang, malnourished and weak, died on January 31st 2019 after suffering another beating by her in-laws.

    The case received more attention on social media this week as the local Yucheng People’s Court (山东禹城法院) reviewed the case after an earlier verdict in January. The retrial is set to take place on November 27.

    In January 2020, the court sentenced Fang’s husband and his parents for the crime of abuse. The victim’s father-in-law, Zhang Jilin (张吉林), received three years in prison, her mother-in-law, Liu Lanying (刘兰英), got 26 months in prison, and her husband’s sentence was suspended with a three-year probation time, as reported by Sixth Tone and China Daily.

    The relatively light punishments triggered anger on Weibo, where the hashtag “Woman Suffers Abuse by In-Laws for Being Infertile and Dies” (#山东一女子因不孕遭婆家虐待致死#) has been trending for days, along with other similar hashtags (#女子因不孕被夫家虐待致死案重审#, #山东女子因不孕被虐待致死#).

    A statement issued by Yucheng People’s Court said the court gave the defendants lighter punishment because they were truthful about their crimes and, in advance, paid a voluntary compensation of 50,000 yuan ($7630). The verdict will now be withdrawn.

    In an interview with Southcn.com, Fang’s cousin stated the family had contacted police before when Fang’s in-laws would not allow the family to see her. The second time they contacted the police was after Fang had died.

    Sources close to the family state that Fang’s mother had been diagnosed with a mental condition, with Fang allegedly also showing signs of mental disability, although this has not been verified by official sources. There are also sources claiming that the father-in-law, Zhang Jilin, was a heavy drinker who would get aggressive when drunk.

    On social media, many people are outraged. “I just don’t understand it!”, one person writes: “It’s just because of societal pressure that this case is now going on retrial. But this is not justice!”

    Public anger about the case grew louder due to another case trending at the same time, in which a Shenzhen mother who beat her 12-year-old daughter to death received a ten-year prison sentence (#母亲失手打死12岁女儿获刑十年#).

    “This is unimaginable,” one Weibo user wrote: “Isn’t the idea of sentencing someone to actually punish them?!”

    “This pains me so much, is this the actual society we’re living in?”

    Besides the anger over China’s criminal justice system when it comes to domestic violence, there are also those who express disgust over the fact that the Zhang family apparently arranged a marriage for the sole purpose of producing offspring. “Are we still living in the Qing Dynasty?”

    Many of the comments online are similar to those that flooded social media after the death of Lamu: “Is this how the law protects women?!”

    We will report more on this story after November 27.

    By Manya Koetse

    Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

    ©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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