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Video of Assault on Woman in Beijing Hotel Causes Urban Safety Concerns Amongst Netizens

Video footage of one woman being attacked near a hotel known for prostitution in the popular Beijing 798 neighbourhood has gone viral on Weibo and WeChat. The case causes concern amongst netizens, who fear for women’s safety in the city.

Manya Koetse

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Video footage of a woman being attacked near a hotel known for prostitution in the popular Beijing 798 neighbourhood has gone viral on Weibo and WeChat. The case causes concern amongst netizens, who fear for women’s safety in the city.

One Sina Weibo one user named Wanwan_2016 from Hangzhou posted a surveillance video on April 4 that showed her being attacked by a man in a hotel hallway in Beijing’s popular 798 Art District. The assault occurred on Sunday evening, April 3rd, just before 11 pm.

The video caused a lot of commotion amongst China’s netizens for multiple reasons. One of the major things that angered people was that the video revealed how bystanders and hotel staff did not help the woman when she was attacked by the man. It also raised concerns about the safety of Chinese hotels like the one where the assault occurred – which are meet-up places for prostitution. Many netizens furthermore spoke of the fact that Chinese media initially hardly covered the topic. Lastly, the case also increased public awareness on women having to be able to defend themselves in such situations.

By now, the topic has become an online sensation that has been shared nearly a million times, attracting thousands of comments within a time frame of 48 hours.

“Why is it tolerated in the minds of Chinese people that wives or children are beaten?”

The video clip that went viral is actually a video of a video – recorded by the victim as she is shown the security footage of her own assault. During the clip, you can hear the woman commenting and crying as she sees the footage of her own attack. The footage shows how the woman is assaulted by a man as she is about to leave the hotel. The man first grabs her by the throat and then drags her to the street, just outside the view of the surveillance cameras. Although the woman reportedly cries out, people passing by do not help her. One hotel staff person stands by as the man makes a phone call to take the girl away, but does not intervene. If it had not been for another female hotel customer who stops the man by the end of the video, it is likely that the woman would have been abducted.

According to China.org, one of the reasons people did not help out might be because they thought that this was a quarreling couple. One popular comment on Weibo said: “Why is it tolerated in the minds of Chinese people that wives or children are beaten? How many times has it happened that suspects pretend to be spouses or head of the household, so that bystanders don’t care about their cruel acts?”

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The comment raises a sensitive issue, as it is not the first time that perpetrators act as if the woman they are assaulting is actually their wife or girlfriend. In 2013, several stories of men dragging away women in the Beijing subway while pretending to be their husband or boyfriend also made their rounds on the internet.

“The problem is society’s indifferent attitude.”

Within hours after Wanwan herself posted the clip of her assault on her Weibo page, it was shared over 65,000 times, with netizens reacting in anger over the indifference of the hotel staff and bystanders. China.org reports that the hotel management issued an online statement saying that a fight between a man and a woman had taken place that night: “The hotel staff tried to separate them after hearing the noise. The man then made a phone call and tried to take the woman away. The woman sat down on the ground and called the police. When the man tried to drag the woman towards the emergency exit, he was stopped by a female customer and a hotel guard,” the statement said.

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Through her Weibo account, Wanwan calls for people to share the video so that more people know about it, and women can learn from it to be more vigilant. She also hopes for justice in this case. The topic went viral under the hashtag of ‘Woman attacked at Yitel Hotel’ (#和颐酒店女生遇袭#). By Wednesday, the video was shared more than 920,000 times and had attracted over 260,000 comments.

One netizen pointed out: “The crucial problem here is a great shortcoming of our society, where people have become accustomed to showing an indifferent attitude. The problem is not about where this happened (..), it is about the state of society.”

“I am so disappointed.”

Weibo netizens worry for women’s safety in Beijing and condemn the hotel chain that Yitel belongs to, Home Inns, complaining that these kinds of hotels are often used for prostitution and other illegal activities, are unsafe and have bad service: “I hope this case will raise hotel staff’s awareness on the safety of its customers,” one netizen says.

Homeinn has again commented one the case through its Weibo account earlier today (April 6), saying that “the police is currently investigating this case and we are assisting them in this, we are in close contact with them, and will report more on this matter soon.”

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Through Sina Weibo, state media outlet People’s Daily warns all women: “Ladies, please pass this on. Safety guidelines for women. A woman from Hangzhou was attacked at a Beijing hotel and police is investigating the case. Please keep this in mind: 1. Please do not go to appointed places with strangers. 2. Do not go into dark streets at night by yourself. 3. Do not just open the door for anyone. 4. Do not cling to your property in dangerous situations.”

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The guidelines also warn women not to take black cabs. Many netizens are critical about the warning as they feel that it puts the responsibility of an attack on the shoulders of women: “Isn’t it the job of the police to make sure we can safely go out?” one netizen wonders.

Wanwan herself only had one final reaction today to the media, police and hotel’s reactions: “I am so disappointed.”

– By Manya Koetse & Diandian Guo

Featured image: original footage screenshots compilated by What’s on Weibo

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

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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China Local News

Oil Tanker Truck Explosion Sends Shock Waves through Wenling, Zhejiang

A major oil tanker explosion has left over a hundred people injured and at least ten dead in Wenling, Zhejiang.

Manya Koetse

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On June 13, the explosion of an oil tanker truck has caused chaos in the city of Wenling in China’s Zhejiang province, leaving at least 112 127 people injured and nine 10 people dead.

The explosion took place in the afternoon at approximately 16:40 near the exit of the G15 Shenhai highway, causing a loud bang and wrecking some homes in the vicinity.

The hashtag “Zhejiang Wenling Tanker Wagon Explosion” (#浙江温岭槽罐车爆炸#) and other related hashtags (#浙江温岭一油罐车爆炸#) are attracting millions of views on social media site Weibo on Saturday evening (local time), with Chinese media and netizens sharing the footage of the damage caused by the explosion.

“My god, this is so scary,” a typical comment on Weibo says, with many people expressing their shock over the major incident.

Emergency and rescue workers are currently still at the scene to assist victims and clear away the wreckage caused by the explosion.

On Saturday night around 21:15 local time, Chiense state media outlet CCTV was still broadcasting a live stream through Weibo showing the latest images and footage of the situation and interviewing injured people in the hospital.

Local authorities and Chinese media are warning people not to go near Wenling’s Daxi to keep the roads clear for rescue workers.

Meanwhile, people on Chinese social media are spreading praying emoji’s and candles, expressing their sympathies for the victims of today’s explosion.

By Manya Koetse

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©2020 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

China’s Shulan City in “Wartime Mode” after Recording 13 COVID-19 Infections

Local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases in Shulan.

Manya Koetse

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The city of Shulan in China’s Jilin Province is top trending on Chinese social media today after local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases.

These are the first local infections in the entire province after a period of 73 days, China News reports, with other previous cases all being infections from abroad.

Last week, on May 7th, a female resident was the first to be tested positive for COVID-19. The city in northeast China is now the only place in the PRC to be marked as “high risk.”

One page on social media platform Weibo dedicated to the topic of Shulan going into “wartime mode” (“战时状态”) had received over 190 million views by Monday evening local time.

What does this “wartime mode” entail?
– All residents stay home, lockdown of residential compounds
– All public places closed
– Schools closed
– All public transportation suspended
– No more selling of fever-reducing medicine in clinics or stores

According to CGTN, a total of 290 people who have been in close contact with the infected patients have been traced and placed under medical observation.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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