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Story of Shanghai Bund “Attack by Muslim Man” Triggers Online Furor in China

A personal story on Weibo about an altercation with a Muslim man on the Bund in Shanghai has stirred wide debate.

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A personal story by a Weibo netizen about an altercation with a Muslim man on the Bund in Shanghai has stirred wide debate on Chinese social media. The case has evoked both anti-Islamic sentiments and anger about censorship in the name of ‘ethnic unity.’

The account of a female Weibo user nicknamed ‘Ningsuk’ sparked a storm of debate over the past few days after the woman explained in detail how she was allegedly harassed by a Muslim man in Shanghai on the night of September 14th.

On her Weibo account, the woman wrote that she was “attacked by a Middle Eastern-looking Muslim man” and that the man also told her he was an Arab Muslim.

The incident caused a wave of online anger for various reasons. At first, her story mainly triggered anti-Islamic sentiment. When ‘Ningsuk’ later wrote on Weibo that her posts about the incident had been deleted for “undermining ethnic unity,” netizens were outraged about the alleged censorship of the story.

 

NINGSUK’S ACCOUNT

“He told me that there are many Arabs/Muslims in this area, and that they are all united.”

 

On the evening of September 15, Ningsuk wrote her initial long account on Weibo of the incident that happened on Thursday night.

The original post on Weibo

In her account, she writes that she arrived in Shanghai to meet her friend on Thursday after taking the train from Beijing. Since her friend was not able to meet her at the train station, they had agreed to meet later at the Starbucks on the Bund, where ‘Ningsuk’ arrived at 8.00 pm.

As ‘Ningsuk’ was having a coffee in the outside seating area, she writes that “a man with an Arabic appearance” asked her if the seat next to her was taken, joined her at the table, and started talking to her in Mandarin, asking if she was alone. “I told him I was waiting for my boyfriend,” the woman writes.

The woman then describes how the man took on a threatening tone: “He told me that there are many Arabs/Muslims in this area and that they are all united, unlike Chinese who just mind their own business. He said that with one phone call, he could have many people come over.”

Because ‘Ningsuk’ was meeting her friend there, had all her luggage with her, and her phone was almost out of battery, she did not want the situation to escalate, she writes. As he the man spoke to her about his “many friends,” she tried to reach her friend and told her to hurry.

When the man pulled his chair towards the woman and cornered her, saying “he did not have bad intentions,” and put his hands on her shoulder for “taking a picture,” she got up and ran into the Starbucks.

She writes: “He followed me inside [the shop] and forcefully grabbed me and pulled me to the corner. At this point, I started to shake and he continued to say that there were many (Muslim) people in the area that he could call over with one phone call.”

When the man then grabbed her and tried to pull out of the Starbucks, she ran behind the cashier’s desk and asked the staff for help. The man left the store, she writes, but waited for her outside and came back in at one time and attempted to slap the woman before the Starbuck’s manager stepped in and made him leave again.

After the woman’s friend arrived, the two women were threatened by the man once more outside the store before finally leaving together.

 

ONLINE ANGER OVER CENSORSHIP

“I should not cause racial tensions – the police contacted me.”

 

Ningsuk’s post received thousands of comments and over 30,000 shares. Many people responded with indignation, with some saying: “This is how it starts (..) we as Han Chinese have no feeling of safety (..).”

Triggering so many reactions, Ningsuk’s story was deleted not long after its initial publication.

The deletion also stirred much anger on Weibo, where many netizens suggested the post was only shut down because it involved a Muslim man and that personal safety issues matter more than ethnical sensitivities.

The woman ‘Ningsuk’ later posted: “I should not cause racial tensions – the police contacted me. I’m safe now, the original post has been deleted.”

Photo posted by ‘Ningsuk.’

She also confirmed to her followers that local authorities had reached out to her, that she met with them and that they were investigating the case. She also said that people were banned from commenting on any of her posts regarding this story.

 

SUSPECT ARRESTED

“I am very, very shocked that it turns out he is actually a Chinese person.”

 

On September 16, Shanghai police released a statement that they had detained a 23-year-old man for “repeatedly harassing [the] girl after he was drunk on Thursday.” According to the woman, the police stated the suspect was a Muslim of Chinese nationality.

She wrote: “They got him. The police let me see the person’s identity card and name. I am also very, very shocked that it turns out he is actually a Chinese person from a certain region. I asked the police whether or not he admitted that he had said he was an Arabic man and the police told me he admitted this, and that he says he talked big talk because he had too much to drink [that night]. They also have verified that he is a Muslim.

Within 24 hours, her last post was also shared over 26000 times.

Many netizens commented that they were happy the police arrested the suspect, but that it still did not validate the censorship of the woman’s story. There are also people who praise the woman for “having the courage” to put her story online despite its sensitivity.

“A girl is harassed by a Muslim man in a public place. Then all she does is she goes home and writes about it on Weibo. Then the relevant departments are directly on the phone and warn her not to destroy national unity, and then the police take her to ‘drink tea’ and then the post is completely deleted. This whole issue is not a mystery,” one person responded.

 

STATE MEDIA RESPONDS

“The online sentiments are complicated, and most internet users are convinced that the reason the woman’s post was deleted is because she said her harasser was Muslim.”

 

On Monday, Chinese state tabloid Global Times responded to the issue through its ‘opinion column’ by Shan Renping (单仁平), saying that it is only the woman who confirmed the man was indeed Muslim and that the police gave no official statement about his background.

“The online sentiments are complicated, and most internet users are convinced that the reason the woman’s post was deleted is because she said her harasser was Muslim. They are also unhappy with the fact the police did not [publicly] reveal the identity of the suspect.”

The column stresses that the Chinese state will prosecute everybody equally based on their crime and not their race, ethnicity or religion: “No matter who breaks the law (..) it does not matter what race or religion they are, the officials will always handle it according to law without any hesitation.”

It also said that officials always hide religious and/or ethnical identities of people involved in crime reports to “maintain national and religious harmony.” Although there might be negative consequences to this policy, the article says, the “other negative consequences”- if they do report all suspect backgrounds – “will be even worse.”

The article said that “some people are prejudiced about the measures taken by the State to protect Muslims, as they think it is unfair. We should take their ideas seriously.” It argued that the existing problems with Muslims in Western society has “also influenced Chinese society to some extent.”

The article concludes that when it comes to handling national religious affairs, “we must believe in the Party, the country, and the government because they will do what is good for the people.”

By Manya Koetse,Miranda Barnes, Richard Barnes


Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©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, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Local News

Wife Killed in Guangdong While Chasing Car of Husband and Mistress

A woman in Guangdong’s Zhongshan was crushed by her husband’s car in September of this year while trying to catch her spouse in the act of cheating on her.

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A woman chasing a car with her husband and his alleged mistress in it was tragically killed in Zhongshan earlier this year. Footage of the incident made its rounds on Weibo this weekend.

A 44-year-old woman was tragically killed earlier this year in Zhongshan, Guangdong, while trying to catch her cheating husband in the act while he was driving his Mercedes with his alleged mistress in the passenger’s seat.

A surveillance video of the incident, that reportedly occurred on September 1st in Nantou (north of Zhongshan), was making its rounds on Chinese social media on Sunday. The video was released by Chinese audiovisual news platform Pear Video.

Footage shows how the Mercedes driver, later identified as the woman’s 46-year-old husband, slows down for oncoming traffic in a narrow road, when his wife runs up from behind the car and spots a girl in the passenger seat.

She runs towards the passenger side’s car door, and tries to open it, but the girl inside blocks the door.

As the woman keeps trying to pull the car door open, she follows the car as it slowly starts to drive away. When the driver suddenly hits the gas and speeds up, the woman is pulled along with the car, still holding the door handle.

Another surveillance camera further down the street captures how the woman first runs along but then trips and is dragged along under the car. She then falls on the street, where her lifeless body is left behind.

According to Chinese media reports, witnesses called for an ambulance but medical workers were not able to rescue the woman – she died as a result of being crushed by the car. The husband, the CEO of a local paint factory, later turned himself in at a local police station.

Three months after the incident took place, the case attracted the attention of netizens again when it became a hot social media topic this weekend. One video of the incident received 3,1 million views in a few days time.

“This just hurts to watch,” one commenter said: “If you don’t love each other anymore, just separate, there is no need for such a thing.”

Others said that the man was definitely guilty of killing his wife – some even argued he deserved the death penalty for his actions.

Violent confrontations between women or men and their cheating spouses, or their lovers, often become trending topics on Chinese social media. In November of this year, footage of a woman smashing her husband’s car windows also became trending online.

Various videos showing women publicly humiliating and beating up their husband’s mistress also made their rounds on Weibo last year.

“China should set up special laws for cheating spouses and their lovers,” some people on Weibo suggested.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

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

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China Local News

Sick Wild Panda Rescued by Villagers in Sichuan

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With less than 2000 pandas living in the wild, it is rare to have an encounter with a wild panda; so these villagers in Sichuan were very surprised to find a panda after hearing its cries from the forest.

Villagers from Wawushan (瓦屋山), Sichuan, were surprised to find a wild panda curled up in a bamboo forest on Thursday night. The first person who found the panda responded to his family members, who said they had heard a noise from the forest, ECNS reports.

As the animal appeared to be emaciated and ill, the family called for help. While waiting for veterinarians from the Chengdu Giant Panda Conservation Research Base to arrive, villagers build a shed for the panda to protect her against the wind and rain.

Rescuers take the panda to the Sichuan Giant Panda Conservation Research Center.

The panda has been taken to Chengdu Research Base, and has been found to suffer from a rib fracture, parasites and stomach problems. The panda is a female that is estimated to be between 16 and 20 years old. She has been doing better since veterinarians have been giving her medical treatment, KK News reports on Weibo, where the panda news received approximately 4000 shares and thousands of comments.

It is rare for people to encounter pandas in the wild. According to China’s State Forestry Administration, there were fewer than 2000 pandas living in the wild after 2013. Wild pandas mainly live in the mountains of the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu.

“If this would be a wild boar, it would have been eaten,” some people comment: “But a national treasure is a national treasure.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 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. ©2014-2017

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