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Online Outrage After University Professor Brutally Beats up Female Street Cleaner

A high education, but low morals – Chinese netizens are shocked by the violent beating of a female street cleaner.

Manya Koetse

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A violent attack on a female sanitation worker has triggered public outrage in China, especially since one of the aggressors is a professor at the Shaanxi University of Science and Technology.

On October 4th, a netizen from Tianjin (@查派017) posted about a violent incident he witnessed that involved a female street cleaner and two persons, one being a professor from the Shaanxi University of Science and Technology. The two allegedly beat up a female sanitation worker for blocking their way on a road outside the university campus in Xi’an.

The person’s Weibo post about the incident was shared over 93,000 times within 24 hours, attracting ten thousands of comments from angry netizens.

 

“How much money do I make and how much money do you make?”

 

This is a full translation of the post*, which was published on Sina Weibo along with several screenshots of a video of the incident.

On October 4, 2017, around 2 in the afternoon, a male and female college staff member beat up a female sanitation worker. I want to expose these two pieces of scum.”

“I was just resting indoors when I heard a loud weeping coming from outside the window. I initially thought that parents were teaching their child a lesson, but after a few minutes, the crying grew louder and it did not sound like a child. From the window I then saw a female sanitation worker slowly getting up from a pile of garbage, while a woman was pushing her, yelling: ‘How much money do I make and how much money do you make? You’re now keeping me from making money!'”

Blood on the floor at the scene where the beating took place.

At this time, a man came forward to beat the female cleaner, and I shouted from my window: ‘You are bullying a sanitation worker, you are shameless!’ At this point, they discovered that other people were watching them, and they stopped what they were doing. The man wanted to back up his car and get away, but he was already stopped by some of the neighbors around.”

“As I rushed to the scene, the man shouted at me: ‘She let me beat her herself!’ The woman’s attitude was still bad. Before reporting to the police, I shot a video and told them I would expose them. Again their attitude changed, and at this time there were more and more people who were criticizing them. An older man told me that the man had hit the sanitation worker and that he had kicked her several times.”

The female cleaner, whose identity remains unknown, was beaten, pushed, and kicked.

While filing a report at the police station, there was a man who said he was the man’s assistant, and he explained to the police that the man originally came from the countryside but that he had lived in Japan and the US for some years before returning home and that he does not understand the situation here and that was why he beat someone.

The alleged aggressors were filmed by bystanders.

That infuriated me. As if he could just randomly beat up people in other countries? I also understood from his assistant that the man was a professor working for the Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, that he was a doctor who had just been given a 10 million yuan project, and that he hoped we would not expose him. I heard that the woman works at the human resource department of Shaanxi University. I am writing this after just coming back from the police station – I hope to let everyone know that these kinds of worthless people are not fit to be a teacher.

Of the thousands of people who commented on the post, the majority mainly criticizes the male professor involved in this incident and is enraged that someone with such a high social status would pick on someone so vulnerable.

“It is the Mid-Autumn Festival and you are having your vacation while this sanitation worker is at work. How can you be so low, you have no humanity in you. As a professor, you are unfit to teach!”, one angry commenter wrote.

“It is clear that educational background and moral standing are not directly connected,” another person said.

 

“Just suspended? Why not immediately fired?”

 

Shortly after published, the post triggered the so-called ‘human flesh search engine’ (人肉搜索), meaning that netizens worked together to identify and expose the persons involved in controversial incidents.

One commenter soon came up with personal details of the man involved, stating he was a 38-year-old Shaanxi resident by the name of Ge who was indeed working as a professor and had previously lived and studied abroad, being connected to both the Kyoto Institute of Technology and the University of Oklahoma.

On October 5, Chinese state media also reported the incident and confirmed it indeed involved a certain Dr. Ge who was a teacher at the Shaanxi University. They also wrote that the university has now suspended the man from his post and that local authorities are currently investigating the case.

“Just suspended? Why was he not immediately fired?”, many commenters wondered.

Chinese media have not reported on the status of the woman involved in the violent beating, but Shaanxi University has stated that she does not work at their institution, but is a family member of Ge.

 

“These kinds of people do not belong in education.”

 

Since the incident has attracted so much attention within just one day, the professor has apologized to the sanitation worker and her family through a letter.

The letter issued by the involved professor on October 5.

The letter was posted on the official Weibo account of the Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, which wrote that “Mr. Ge has realized that his actions are terribly wrong, and is active in [arranging] medical treatment for the person involved.”

The university also made a public statement that it strongly denounced Mr. Ge’s actions and that they were taking the matter very seriously.

The apology-letter post also received over 25,000 comments within hours. Many people say they do not accept Mr. Ge’s apology, and demand that he immediately gets fired, writing that “these kinds of people do not belong in education.”

This image of the beaten and crying street cleaner is going viral on Chinese social media.

Sanitation workers or street cleaners do not have an easy life in China, and face many difficulties. Although they are nicknamed “angels of the road” (马路天使), their working circumstances are far from heaven.

Public cleaners in China generally work long hours and receive the national minimum pay. Normally there is no workstation for workers to take a break or recover from the extreme heat or cold. Working safety is also an important issue, as street cleaners are exposed to dangerous situations when cleaning roads with busy traffic. Street cleaners are often get injured or even die due to road accidents.

To increase public awareness and appreciation for the work of street cleaners, October 26 has turned into a special day in China to honor the country’s street cleaners and sanitation workers.

By Manya Koetse

*Original post text:
“2017年10月4日,下午两点左右,一男一女两名大学老师殴打环卫女工。曝光这两个人渣。
我正在屋子准备休息,听见窗外有人大声哭泣,最开始以为是家长在教训小孩,过了几分钟哭声越来越大,而且仔细听不像是小孩。从窗户上看到,一名女环卫工从垃圾堆里慢慢爬起来,一名女的推搡这环卫工,并且叫嚣到:我挣多少钱,你挣多少钱,你挡着我挣钱。此时一男的欲上前殴打环卫女工,这是我从窗户里喊:你欺负环卫工,要不要脸。此时他们发现被别人看到,应该是回过神来了,男的欲倒车逃跑,已被小区里的几名住户制止。赶到现场,男的还和我叫嚣:是她自己让我打的。那女的态度依然恶劣。直到我报了警,并拍摄视频,说要曝光他们。态度才有所转变,此时群众越来越多,都指责他们。有位大爷和我说:男的把环卫工打到了,还上去踹了好几脚。
到了警局做笔录,有一个自称,是男的助手的人,向警察解释:他是农村出身,在美国和日本待了几年才回国,不了解国情才打人的。我真是气愤,原来他在国外是随便打人的?从他助手的话里了解到,那男的是陕西科技大学才聘请回来的教授,是个博士,刚给他投资了个1000万的项目,希望我们不要曝光他。那打人的女,听说是陕西科技大学人事处的。
打这段字刚从警察局昨晚笔录回来。求曝光,这种人渣不配当老师.”

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Altyn Sultan

    October 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Apparently, this happened on Wednesday, and it’s a week of holidays. Hence, suspension is not the final decision, but an operational measure to carry out a disciplinary investigation. Noone fire staff without a proper investigation.
    I’m sure a proper and prompt decision will be taken by the University Administration.

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China Insight

Red Cross Society of China in Bad Light Due to Online Rumors after Gansu Earthquake

Even though the rumors surrounding the Red Cross might be false, the public concerns surrounding charity efforts are real.

Manya Koetse

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A handwarmer for 500 yuan ($70), a tent for 2200 yuan ($308), a blanket for 100 yuan ($14)? An online list detailing items supposedly procured by the Gansu Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts has ignited controversy on Chinese social media in recent days. Although the Red Cross has denied all rumors, the incident underscores public skepticism towards the organization.

After the devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Jishishan (积石山), a county in China’s Gansu Province’s Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, on December 18, Chinese social media platforms were flooded with news related to the disaster. The overnight earthquake killed at least 148 people and left hundreds injured.

News of the earthquake resonated deeply throughout the country, and the ongoing search and rescue operations and relief efforts, hindered by landslides, ruined infrastructure, and freezing temperatures, have attracted major attention online.

While much of the discourse revolves around the goodness of the people contributing to charities and doing all they can to help victims in the affected areas, there is also public distrust surrounding the motives of some charities or helping organizations that might use the disaster as an opportunity to make a profit.

One hotly debated topic revolves around the Red Cross Society of China, after a list surfaced online of items allegedly purchased by the Gansu Red Cross for relief efforts in the aftermath of the Gansu Earthquake.

Image published on Weibo via Red Cross Society of China (@中国红十字会总会).

The procurement list raised controversy due to the high prices of the common items listed, and because of a supposed “management fee” (管理费) of 1.6 million yuan ($224k).

In response, the Red Cross refuted these claims, asserting that they had not issued any such list (#甘肃红十字称没发布任何物资清单#). On December 24, the Gansu Red Cross took to Weibo (@甘肃省红十字会) to clarify that the circulating information was “grossly inaccurate.” They assured the public that all donations would directly aid earthquake relief efforts, without incurring management fees.

The Red Cross statement on Weibo.

Even though the procurement list might be false, the public concerns surrounding charity efforts are real.

“Why does the Red Cross end up in the top trending lists every time?” one commenter wondered: “Their information should be more transparent and timely.”

Others also suggested that merely denying the rumors was not enough, and that they hoped that the Red Cross would provide more details and information to show netizens, of whom many donated money, how their charity money is being spent to help relief efforts in the affected areas in Gansu and Qinghai.

The fact that the Red Cross Weibo post did not allow any commenting did not help: “Why are you afraid to let us openly discuss this?”

 
Red Cross Society of China: Tainted by Suspicion
 

The Red Cross of China, the nation’s largest charitable organization, continues to grapple with a tarnished reputation that partly stems from the 2011 “Guo Meimei Incident.”

Guo Meimei (郭美美), whose real name is Guo Meiling, became an infamous internet celebrity in the summer of 2011 after flaunting her excessive wealth online whilst claiming to work as a “commercial general manager” for the Red Cross Society of China.

The issue severely eroded the society’s credibility, which has been designated by the government as the central public donation organization during times of disasters (Cheng 2016). From luxury handbags to sports cars, the 19-year-old Guo showed off her money on Weibo, and quickly went viral on various message boards as people were angered over corruption and potential misuse of charity money.

Guo Meimei

Despite efforts by the Red Cross Society to debunk these rumors and distance itself from Guo, speculations persisted. Many speculated about Guo’s potential ties to the organization, even if she did not officially work there. As highlighted by Cheng (2016), the public’s negative sentiment toward the Red Cross triggered “a chain of credibility crises” and even spread to other charitable groups in China.

During the 2020 Wuhan Covid outbreak, the Red Cross faced scrutiny for allegedly stockpiling public donations of medical supplies in warehouses rather than promptly distributing them to frontline medical personnel facing shortages.

The current allegations against the Red Cross of China in the aftermath of the Gansu Earthquake also echo other past controversies, such as the one they dealt with after the 2008 Sichuan quake. Red Cross officials were then also accused of misusing donations by purchasing needlessly expensive tents and vehicles.

 
Donations for the ‘Underdog’: The Han Hong Foundation
 

The growing public distrust towards the Red Cross has arguably paved the way for other Chinese charities to gain prominence. A prime example is the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation (韩红爱心慈善基金会), established in 2012 by renowned Chinese folk singer Han Hong (韩红, 1971).

Although Han Hong has been engaged in charity for many years, during which she invested a lot of her own money, the charity she established became more known after the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation was committed to aid efforts during the Wuhan Covid outbreak in 2020 and the Henan floods in 2021.

Han Hong (center), picture via Xiaohongshu fan of Han Hong.

After the earthquake in Gansu on December 18th, Han Hong’s organization immediately organized rescue teams and provided people in the affected areas with clothes and (medical) supplies. Hang Hong was able to rake in millions thanks to her reputation of being compassionate and altruistic, as well as through her strong network in China’s entertainment industry, leading numerous Chinese celebrities to support her relief efforts.

But Han Hong’s organization is also affected by the public distrust surrounding charity in China. On December 23, it was rumored that her Charity Foundation was officially asked to leave the disaster area as well as to hand over a portion of their donations.

The foundation refuted these claims by issuing a statement on December 25 (#韩红基金会辟谣#).

Statement by Han Hong Love Charity Foundation refuting rumors that their charity work was hindered by officials.

In the public view, there seems to be a big difference between perceptions of large entities like the Red Cross and other ‘official’ charitable organizations versus smaller, more independent initiatives like the Han Hong foundation, which operates as a private charitable entity.

Reflecting on the rumors surrounding both the Red Cross and Han Hong’s foundation, one Weibo commenter noted: “These rumors come into existence because so many of these so-called charitable foundations actually treat charity as their business. And so, they become ‘competitors.’”

Meanwhile, Han Hong’s organization stresses that it operates under the guidance and oversight of the party and government, and only provide emergency support through their support.

In online discussions on the power of the Red Cross versus Han Hong’s organization, some commenters suggest that it is time for the government and authorities to reflect on why a private organization would be more trusted than the Red Cross, a government organized NGO.

One Weibo commenter wrote: “What Han Hong does is true charity instead of business.” Another person replied: “The biggest disaster here is actually the erosion of public trust.”

By Manya Koetse

References

Cheng, Yang. 2016. “Social Media Keep Buzzing! A Test of Contingency Theory in China’s Red Cross Credibility Crisis.” International Journal of Communication, June 2016: pp. 3241+.

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©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Brands, Marketing & Consumers

Tsingtao Brewery ‘Pee-Gate’: Factory Worker Caught Urinating in Raw Material Warehouse

The pee incident, that occurred at a subsidiary Tsingtao Beer factory, has caused concerns among consumers.

Manya Koetse

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A video that has circulated on Chinese social media since October 19 shows how an alleged worker at a Tsingtao Beer factory climbs over a wall at the raw material production site and starts to urinate.

The incident reportedly occurred at the Tsingtao Beer Factory No. 3, a subsidiary of the Tsingtao Brewing Company, located in Qingdao, Shandong.

After the video went viral, the Tsingtao Brewery Company issued a statement that they took the incident very seriously and immediately report it to the authorities, who have started an investigation into the case. Meanwhile, the specific batch in production has been halted and shut off.

The incident has caused concern among consumers, and some commenters on social media wonder if this was the first time something like this has happened. “How do we know this hasn’t happened many times before?”

Others speculate about what might have motivated the man to urinate at the production site. There are those who believe that the man is part of an undercover operation orchestrated by a rivaling company, aimed at discrediting Tsingtao. It’s even suggested that there were two ‘moles’ leaking in this incident: one doing the urinating, and the other doing the video ‘leak.’

Meanwhile, there are voices who are critical of Tsingtao, suggesting that the renowned beer brand has not effectively addressed the ‘pee gate’ scandal. It remains uncertain how this incident will impact the brand, but some netizens are already expressing reservations about ordering a Tsingtao beer as a result.

But there are also those who joke about the “pissing incident,” wondering if Tsingtao Beer might soon launch a special “urine flavored beer.”

By Manya Koetse

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Featured photo by Jay Ang (link).

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