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Mass Sex Attacks in Europe: Chinese Social Media Reactions

News of the mass sex assaults during New Year’s in Cologne and others cities has shocked people across Europe. Chinese media extensively covered the attacks and their aftermath, leading to many reactions on Weibo and other social media platforms in China.

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News of the mass sex assaults during New Year’s in Cologne and others cities has shocked people across Europe. Chinese media extensively covered the attacks and their aftermath, leading to many reactions on Weibo and other social media platforms in China.

On New Year’s Eve, an estimated thousand men assaulted, raped and robbed dozens of women around Cologne’s train station. The men were   said to have a North African and Arab appearance. News of the mass sexual assault made the headlines days after it took place. Similar incidents, on a smaller scale, have also been reported in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

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The Cologne police initially filed a report saying that New Year’s Eve had “passed off peacefully”. It was later reported that city police had identified suspects who harassed women on the night of December 31st, but that they did not want to publicize it because of its “politically awkward” nature, since some were asylum seekers (Deutsche Welle). On January 11, it also became known that Swedish police covered up mass sex assaults by mostly migrant youths at a music festival earlier in 2015.

As reports on the New Year attacks are still coming in, Cologne police stated on Saturday that the number of reported violence cases in the city had reached 379. On Monday it had risen to 516.

The sex attacks have launched a heated public debate in Germany over immigration and refugees, pressuring Merkel, who has instituted the country’s open-door migrant policy. Women’s rights activists, Islam critics and left-wing counter-protesters demonstrated in Cologne on Saturday. Clashes with the riot police led to a number of arrests.

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On China’s social media platform Sina Weibo, news account Weitianxia reported on Saturday that 31 suspects linked to the mass assaults are currently under investigation and that more than half of them are refugees (德国调查31名科隆大规模性侵案嫌犯 其中过半数为难民).

“This group of men apparently is strong and vigorous enough to rape women, but not to fight for their own country,” one netizen responds to the news. Another one says: “You’ve led the wolf into the house.”

A female netizen called Lin Maomao writes: “I have lived in Germany for so long (..), and I am quite pleased with the public security and morals in this country. Hearing about the public robberies and assaults in Cologne, I feel that every nationality is in charge of its own image. Don’t talk about political correctness – respect and discrimination are responses to one’s own behaviour.”

Swiss model and artist Milo Moire, who protested near the Cologne cathedral on January 8, was also discussed on Weibo. Moire held up a banner saying “Respect us! We are no fair game, even when we are naked!”

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“I really admire this woman’s courage,” says an account named ‘Impressions of Germany‘ on Weibo: “She moved people by enduring the cold like this for ten minutes. If German’s politicians would follow in her footsteps, they could really have the power to influence people.”

Sun Jin, a ‘Germany expert’ and professor at Beijing Normal University (9445 followers), writes on his Weibo account: “The Cologne sexual harassment of New Year’s Eve has made people see that there is actually no freedom of speech in Germany. According to reports, German criminology expert Pfeiffer agreed to a television interview about the matter, and was told by the public television director that he was not allowed to talk about refugees, or else they would immediately be cut off. Previously, the Cologne police chief tried to conceal that the suspects were refugees who had just arrived in Germany. In Germany, it is a political taboo to speak about foreigners committing crimes – whoever criticizes it is right-wing.”

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One netizen comments on this post: “Sweden has done elaborate studies on how the crime rate amongst East Asian immigrants is lower than those of their own people, and that those of Muslim immigrants is much higher than the average. Similarly, in Germany, the percentage of Muslims in prisons is relatively very high. Why the hell should other foreigners be made the scapegoat for them? It is only right to report people’s ethnicity and religion!”

“How about we don’t call them “refugees” but call them “the honored Arabic guests invited by Merkel” – would that be ok?” another netizen responds.

On different other message boards, netizens are also discussing the events in Cologne. People generally react with disbelief to the sex attacks and their aftermath: “Germany is doing good by giving them shelter, why would they commit crimes there? Isn’t this a conspiracy theory to expel them?” one netizen on Baidu wonders. Others seem to have little sympathy for the Germans, and say: “You have made your bed, now lie on it.”

Writer Zhan Hao (807941 followers) writes: “Merkel is facing tough challenges, with some serious back pressure. Now Merkel can only hope that Germany will not have a terrorist attack like in Paris, otherwise it will be difficult for her to stay in office.”

By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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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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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Cassius

    January 19, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Don’t worry China when we say foreigner we do not mean Asians. We know which foreigners are the ones causing trouble and which are the ones whom are very welcomed and respected.

  2. Avatar

    Steve

    January 19, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Let’s hope the Chinese will never make the same mistake and leave these muslim savages in. Muslims will never integrate. Europe is doomed and civil unrest is looming; I am saying this as a European myself.

    • Avatar

      Lando

      January 19, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Say what you want about the Chinese, but if there’s anything to be admired about them it’s that they don’t buy into the political correctness scam. I think the globalists have their work cut out for them if (or rather when) they decide it’s China’s turn.

  3. Avatar

    Tibetan

    January 19, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    What goes around comes around for Syria, Iraq and Libya.

    Good, rape these cracker hoes whites all look like girls anyway.

    • Avatar

      Shinkai Nakazawa

      January 19, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Hahahaha I agree

      I think its great that America is letting my country(Japan) restore our military and plutonium storage which allows us develop hidden underground nukes and ICBMs. These are finally moving in our favor when America tries to use us against Russia and China.

      Trust me, as soon as my country sees a chance and sees a crises happen, were gonna finally nuclear holocaust these white satanic devils.

      Westerners actually think that my great samurai race forgot revenge and honor when it is enveloped into the psyche of every Japanese. However, its best to lie low until before the US retarded government realize
      my countrymen’s real thoughts.

      • Avatar

        mil92xi

        January 31, 2016 at 9:31 pm

        I think you are forgetting how many countries are more powerful than Japan and would absolutely obliterate it. Japan is a weak, alcoholic country with aging/dying society. And whenever it tries to become strong, China will just remove you from the face of earth. Chinese did not forget savage crimes.

        “Nuclear holocaust”… Lol, Japan has 0 nukes, China, USA, India, Russia all have thousands.
        Dream on, little nazi man, dream on.

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China Insight

The Day After the “3•21” Devastating Yancheng Explosion: 47 Dead, 640 Injured

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The enormous explosion at a chemical plant in Jiangsu’s Yancheng on March 21st has sent shockwaves through the country. While state media are focusing on the efforts of rescue workers, Chinese social media users are mourning the lives lost and are searching for those still missing.

One day after a devastating explosion occurred at a chemical plant in Yancheng city in Jiangsu, at the Xiangshui Eco-chemical Industrial Zone, the number of confirmed casualties and injured has now gone up to 47 dead, 90 critically injured, with around 640 requiring hospital treatment (issued Friday 19.00 local time).

The explosion happened on Thursday around 14.48 local time at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Plant (天嘉宜化工厂). Images and videos of the explosion and its aftermath quickly spread on Weibo and other social media, showing the huge impact of the blast.

Site of the explosion.

Footage showed shattered windows from buildings in the area and injured persons lying on the streets. Other videos showed children crying and blood on the pavements. There are residential areas and at least seven schools located in the vicinity of the chemical plant, leading to injuries among residents and students due to glass that was allegedly “flying around.”

According to official sources on Weibo, a total of 930 firefighters worked side by side to control the fire.

Trending photo on Friday: exhausted firefighters.

The hashtag “Lining Up to Donate Blood in Xiangshui” (#响水市民自发排队献血#) also attracted some attention on Weibo, with state media reporting that dozens of local residents have donated blood to help the injured. On Thursday night, there were long lines at a local mobile blood donation bus.

What is quite clear from the Chinese media reports on the incident and the social media posts coming from official (authorities) accounts, is that there is an emphasis on the number of people who are helping out, rather than a focus on the number of people that were killed: there are at least 930 firefighters, 192 fire trucks, 9 heavy construction machinery, 200 police officers, 88 people rescued, 3500 medical staff, 200 people donating blood, etc. – the number of people joining forces to provide assistance in the area is overwhelming.

Meanwhile, there are desperate family members who are turning to social media in search of loved ones, posting their photos and asking people if they know anything about their whereabouts since the explosion.

While dozens of Weibo users are airing their grievances on what happened, there are also more personal stories coming out. The wife of the local factory worker Jiang is devastated; her husband of four years, father of one son, celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday. She received a message from her husband twenty minutes before the explosion occurred. He was one of the many people who lost their lives.

On Thursday, Chinese netizens complained that their posts about the Yancheng explosion were being taken offline, suggesting that information flows relating to the incident are being strictly controlled. “This is just too big to conceal,” one commenter said.

This is not the first time such an explosion makes headlines in China. In 2015, an enormous explosion at a petrol storage station in Tianjin killed 173 people and caused hundreds of people to be injured. Two years ago, an explosion at a Shandong petrochemical plant left 13 people dead.

By Manya Koetse 

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please email us.

©2019 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

Chinese Netizens’ Response to New Zealand Mosque Attacks

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The shocking New Zealand mosque attack, killing at least 49 people, is making headlines worldwide. On Weibo, it is the top trending topic today. A short overview of some of the reactions on Chinese social media.

At least 49 people were killed and 20 wounded when an attacker opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday. According to various media reports, one man in his late 20s had been arrested and charged with murder. Three other people, two men and one woman, have also been arrested in relation to the attack.

Footage of the brutal shootings, which was live-streamed by the gunman, has been making its rounds on social media. Although the videos are being taken down from Facebook and Twitter, people are still sharing the shocking images and footage on Weibo at time of writing.

The gunman, who has been named as the 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, reportedly also posted a 70-page manifesto online expressing white supremacist views.

On Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, the New Zealand mosque attack became a number one trending topic on Friday night, local time, with the hashtag “New Zealand Shootings” (#新西兰枪击案#) receiving at least 130 million views, and thousands of reactions.

“It takes the collaborate efforts of all people to work on a beautiful world, it just takes a few people to destroy it,” one Weibo user wrote.

“Extremism is incredibly scary,” others said. “I saw the livestreaming video and it’s too cruel – like a massacre from a shooter video game.” “I’m so shaken, I don’t even want to think of the panic these people must have felt.”

“I’ve seen the footage, and this is so horrible. It makes me want to cry. It’s a massacre.” Other commenters also write: “This is just so inhumane.”

One aspect that especially attracted attention on Chinese social media is that, according to many people posting on Weibo and Wechat, the main suspect expressed in his manifesto that the nation he felt closest to in terms of his “political and social values” is “that of the People’s Republic of China.”

Journalist Matthew Keys reportedly uploaded the main suspect’s manifesto, which was published on January 21, 2019. This article says that to the question about whether he was a fascist, Tarrant indeed wrote that “the nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.”

Some netizens wrote that, in mentioning the PRC, the shooter “also vilified China.” Others also said that the shootings definitely “do not correspond to the values of China.”

There are also dozens of Weibo users who blame Western media for the attacker’s comments on China corresponding to his own values. “What he appreciated is what Western media is propagating about our management of Muslims in Xinjiang,” some say: “He was influenced by the foreign media disseminating that we’re anti-Muslim.”

“He sympathized with the China portrayed by foreign media, not with the real China.”

“Western governments and media have demonized China for a long time, what they are making Western people believe about what China is, this is what the New Zealand shooter felt closest to in terms of his values,” one person wrote.

“These kinds of extreme-right terrorists would be destroyed in China,” others wrote.

Among all people expressing their disgust and horror at the Christchurch shootings, there are also those expressing anti-Muslim views and hatred, with some comment sections having turned into threads full of vicious remarks.

Then there are those criticizing the Muslims that are also commenting on Weibo: “The Muslims in China were quiet when it was about the [islamist extremist] attacks in Kunshan, but now that this massacre happened at the pig-hating mosque, they are all bemoaning the state of the universe and are denouncing terrorism.”

Among the thousands of reactions flooding in on Weibo, there are countless comments condemning those who turn the shocking attack into an occasion for making anti-Muslim or political remarks. “This is a terrorist attack. The victims are ordinary people. Why would you make malicious comments?”

One Weibo user simply writes: “The world has gone crazy.” “A tragic event. I hope the victims will rest in peace.”

By Manya Koetse 

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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