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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.

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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.

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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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7 Comments

7 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

Zhejiang Movie Theatre Displays Blacklisted Individuals in Avengers Movie Preview

A special ‘trailer’ before the Avengers movie premiere showed the audience blacklisted individuals.

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A local movie theatre in the city of Lishui, Zhejiang province, showed a noteworthy ‘trailer’ before the Avengers: End Game premiere on April 24.

Chinese state tabloid Global Times reports that the sold-out premiere had a ‘surprise’ moment just before the movie was about to start: a short Public Service Announcement by the Liandu district court of Lishui displayed people who are currently on a ‘debt dodging black list.’

The short film also informed the cinema audience of potential consequences of being on a blacklist, including no traveling abroad, and no traveling by air or on high-speed trains.

According to Global Times, the local district court has registered a total of 5478 people on its blacklist since 2018.

The names and faces of more than 300 people on this list have reportedly been displayed on cinema screens, public LED screens, and on buildings. Allegedly 80 of them have since complied with court orders.

As part of China’s emerging Social Credit system project, there are public court-issued lists of ‘trust-breaking enforcement subjects’ (信被执行人名单), referring to people or companies who have failed to comply with court orders.

Individuals on the judgment defaulter blacklist system run by the court system, whose information is publicized, can risk having their photos and names displayed on local LED screens on courthouses or other buildings (Dai 2018, 26).

Blacklisted individuals on a Wuxi building (via Phoenix News).

Beyond that, they will face restrictions in various ways, from being denied bank credit to being restricted from staying in high-end hotels or traveling by air.

On Weibo, the Global Times post on the noteworthy cinema preview received over 4000 shares. The same news was also reported by CCTV and Phoenix News.

Some commenters joke about the Public Service Announcement, saying: “Blacklisters [can now say]: Mum! I was on TV! On a big IMAX screen! Together with the Avengers!”

Others leave comments in support of the measure, calling it “creative,” and saying: “This is good, we should implement this all across the country.”

“Blacklisters should be displayed on all kinds of platforms.”

“This is for people to lose on their social credit,” another commenter writes: “If you don’t want to ‘socially die’ then just fulfill your duties.”

But not everyone agrees. “People are buying a movie ticket to see their film,” one person says: “They suddenly get exposed to this kind of content that has nothing to do with them, what about their rights as a consumer?”

By Manya Koetse

References

Dai, Xin, Toward a Reputation State: The Social Credit System Project of China (June 10, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3193577 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3193577 [5.3.19].

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or 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 Construction Worker Left Jobless after Exposing the Dangers of Flimsy Safety Helmets

No one seems willing to hire the day laborer after he exposed the substandard quality of workers’ helmets.

Gabi Verberg

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First published

A video of a Chinese construction worker showing the shocking difference in quality between the safety helmets of laborers versus those of their supervisors went viral on social media earlier this month. Chinese netizens praised the whistleblowers’ push for equal safety standards, but he is now left jobless and ignored.

On April 11, a Chinese day laborer by the name of Dou (窦) published a video on Kuaishou exposing the low-quality safety helmets for frontline construction workers.

In the video (embedded below), Dou shows two helmets. The yellow one, he claims, is the one worn by construction workers. The red one belongs to their supervisors. As he smashes the helmets together, Dou shows how the yellow one is immediately crushed, while the red one remains in perfect condition.

Dou’s message was simple and strong: the helmets worn by supervisors are of much higher quality than those of construction workers, exposing them to considerable dangers while working.

The video was viewed at least 100 million times and sparked major online discussions on the safety of Chinese construction workers before it was taken down from video platform Kuaishou on April 18.

At time of writing, the hashtag “The Contrast between the Safety Helmets of Workers and Supervisors” (#工人和领导安全帽对比#) has been viewed 250 million times on social media platform Weibo, where netizens have collectively expressed their sympathies for vulnerable laborers whose “safety first”, apparently, is not a priority at many construction sites.

The topic also made headlines in Chinese state media. State-owned broadcaster CCTV investigated the quality of Chinese safety helmets, and discovered that some available construction hats, priced as low as 4 RMB (0.59 U.S.$), did not meet safety standards.

A lawyer quoted by Global Times advocated that China’s relevant government departments should launch a campaign to crack down on “inferior helmets” and “clean up illegal products from the source.” The state-run newspaper also reported that workers wearing unsuitable helmets was “a norm in the construction industry,” according to an industry insider.

China’s Ministry of Emergency Management (中华人民共和国应急管理部) released a public statement on Weibo in response to the issue, reminding construction supervisors to abide by legal safety regulations.

But despite the overwhelming support for Dou, the day laborer is now left jobless and worried. In an interview with Chinese media outlet The Paper, Dou says that he can no longer find work since his video has gone viral: “I used to be able to find work every day,” he said: “Why can’t I find it now?”

In the interview, Dou suggests that his online fame over unequal safety helmet standards has made contractors afraid to hire him: “Even contractors that I used to work for are all declining my services.” The situation has left Dou, father to three children, in financial troubles that have forced him to return to his hometown.

When reporters asked Dou why his viral video and earlier videos exposing the flimsy quality of construction hats were taken offline, he reportedly answered: “I need to live.” Perhaps hoping to prevent further exclusion from the construction job market, Dou also claimed he had purchased the helmets in the video himself, and that his employer was not to blame.

 

In the first few years of our lives we learn how to speak, and then we spend the rest of our lives learning to stay quiet.”

 

News of Dou’s predicament has attracted the attention of netizens. Earlier this week, the hashtag “Flimsy Safety Helmet Man Responds” (#脆皮安全帽当事人回应#) received more than 180 million views on Weibo, with many commenters expressing their worries over Dou’s situation after addressing serious workplace safety issues.

One Weibo commenter wrote: “If this [unemployment] is the price you pay for speaking the truth, then who is willing to do so in the future?!” Another Weibo user wrote: “If you have nothing to hide, you’d have no problem hiring him.”

“In the first few years of our lives we learn how to speak, and then we spend the rest of our lives learning to stay quiet,” another commenter wrote.

Despite the public outcry against the injustice suffered by Dou, there are also those who point out that social media discussions can have an actual impact.

Some netizens referred to another incident that occurred last weekend when a video of a woman sitting on the hood of a brand-new Mercedes-Benz went viral.

The woman had just purchased the Mercedes, and as the car was still standing in the showroom, it was leaking oil. After the dealer told her that she had to pay for the repairs, she climbed on the hood of the vehicle and, in tears, refused to get down.

A video of her protest immediately went viral, and millions from all over the country expressed their support for the woman. In light of the public controversy, Mercedes launched an investigation and suspended the showroom for violating regulations.

On Weibo, many people take the Mercedes incident as an example of how justice can prevail as long as netizens unite. But whether the power of social media will also have a positive outcome for Dou is yet uncertain. “He probably won’t be able to find any work for the time to come,” some Weibo users predict.

UPDATE 25 APRIL: Shortly after publishing this article, the hashtag “Flimsy Safety Helmet Man Finds Work” (#脆皮安全帽当事人已找到工作#) has taken off on social media platform Weibo. Dou has received the help of a friend in finding work at a local construction site in Qingdao, the same city where he previously worked.

By Gabi Verberg, Manya Koetse

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©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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