A video that shows a Shanghai policeman pushing down a woman holding a small child in her arms is going viral on Chinese social media on September 1.
With millions of views on Weibo and WeChat, the incident is sparking a wide discussion on police brutality in China.
In the video, that was recorded in Shanghai’s Songjiang district on Friday morning, a woman can be seen arguing with a policeman while she is holding a crying child in her arms. As the conflict continues, the officer suddenly pushes the woman to the ground, causing the baby to fall from her arms and landing on the sidewalk.
Other footage after the incident shows that the fall has left the woman’s face badly swollen and bruised.
The policemen in the video were allegedly checking for illegal parking. Shanghai Songjiang police confirmed on Weibo that the incident is currently under investigation and that the policeman involved has now been suspended. The woman and the child were sent to the hospital.
The video triggered much discussion on Chinese social media under the hashtag “Woman holding baby pushed down by police” (#抱娃女子被民警绊摔#), which had over four million views by Friday afternoon.
Chinese netizens are divided over the issue, with some condemning the policeman’s violent actions and others blaming the woman for provoking an officer while carrying a child in her arms.
“You don’t even care for your own child, and push the police while using the kid in your arms as your shield. Now you’re playing the victim,” commenters said. Some also said that some footage of the incident circulating online was deliberately edited to leave out the part that shows the woman acting hostile towards the police.
But many also think the police use of force, in this case, cannot be justified: “I only want to say that those two policemen did not even bother to check if the child was ok after it fell to the ground,” a person named Isaha commented.
“It’s alright for the police to use force, but in this incident, they should have considered the baby,” a typical comment read.
Other internet commenters – possibly members of the state-backed 50 Cent Army – used the incident to show some patriotism: “If you love our country and the Communist Party you should not criticize the police. When you forward information like this, you’re telling people that our police is violent, and that this is how our government works, but we should be against spreading that message – where’s your patriotism?!”
This is not the first time discussions on the use of force by Chinese police flare up on Chinese social media. In 2016, the death of the 29-year-old Beijing resident Lei Yang while in police custody sparked online outrage, with netizens connecting the fatality to police brutality.
“Regardless of what sh*t excuse the Shanghai police comes up with about the use of force (..), everyone can see, and it is more visible in the video than in the image, how this bastard uses the technique that he learned in police academy to push the woman to the ground, while her baby is flying mid-air on the floor. He completely ignores the baby; and not just him, also his colleague, who also rushes to clamp the woman down while ignoring the crying baby,” a netizen from Guangdong wrote.
No matter if netizens defend the police’s right to use force or side with the woman, there is one thing commenters all seem to agree with. “The baby is innocent,” they say: “It should have been left out of this conflict from the start.”
State tabloid Global Times responded to the issue on Friday night through their official WeChat account, claiming that the woman who was pushed down by the police “had a mysterious smile on her face upon discovering that bystanders sympathized with her because of the child.”
On Weibo, some commenters wondered why Global Times would post such a thing: “It’s not her [the woman] that’s grim, it’s the person who wrote this.”
“Their imagination is too big,” some said: “This woman’s face is distorted because of her injuries; who would have a smile on their face after being beaten like this? Global Times must think others are as stupid as they are if they believe they’d follow their way of thinking..”
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