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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 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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China and Covid19

Residents in Locked Down Lhasa Say Local Epidemic Situation is a “Giant Mess”

Manya Koetse

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They’ve been in lockdown for 42 days already, but according to some Lhasa-based bloggers, there have been no improvements in the local epidemic situation. They say there is a stark difference between what officials are reporting and the daily reality they are dealing with in Tibet.

“The epidemic situation is bad in Lhasa, please pay attention,” one netizen wrote on Weibo on September 15, pointing to many new posts surfacing on Chinese social media about the difficulties people are facing in Lhasa city in Tibet.

Over the past week, many Tibet-based bloggers have posted on social media about the local circumstances, and hundreds of Chinese social media posts talk about similar problems in the region. Despite the ongoing lockdown, they say, there are still a growing number of positive cases within Lhasa communities; buses are allegedly going back and forth to bring people to quarantine sites where those testing positive and negative are mixed; they claim that there is an absolute lack of management and control; and many locals suggest that the official reports do not reflect the actual number of Covid cases at all.

According to the official numbers, Tibet saw its peak in Covid cases on August 17 and has since reported fewer new cases, reporting a total of 118 new cases on Thursday.

“I am a bit shocked!” one local social media user wrote: “What I saw was a total of 28 buses lined up outside Lhasa Nagqu No. 2 Senior High School, and then still more [buses] were coming. One bus can fit around 50 people, so there must have been around 1400 positive cases. There was a blind man, there were elderly people in wheelchairs, there were swaddled-up babies, from getting on the bus at 9.30 pm up to now, we’ve been waiting for 5 hours and we’re still waiting now. It’s just pure chaos at the school entrance, there is no order. I won’t sleep tonight.”

On the 14th of September, another netizen wrote:

“In order to welcome central government leaders to Lhasa and to demonstrate the “excellent” epidemic prevention capabilities of the local government & the “outstanding” results of the fight against the epidemic to them, they moved citizens to the rural areas and let them all stay crowded together in unfinished concrete buildings, with all kinds of viruses having free reign.”

On a Lhasa community message board, one Weibo user wrote: “Lhasa has already been in lockdown for over a month, yet our little community has so many infected people that I’m wondering how effective a lockdown actually is? Has Tibet been forgotten? When other places in China have a few positive cases it becomes a hot topic. But what about Tibet? And what about Lhasa?”

Another anonymous poster writes: “Regarding the Lhasa epidemic situation, the numbers were already a bit fake before, but I can understand it was also to take the public sentiment into consideration. I personally don’t care how you report the data, as long as the epidemic prevention and control work is properly managed, then the lockdown can be lifted soon and nobody will say anything about it. But a month has passed already, and in a town with some hundred thousands of people, the epidemic work is increasingly getting worse. Many people around me have never even left the house and inexplicably turned out to test positive. Meanwhile those who tested positive are quarantined together with people who still tested negative, it’s a giant mess.”

 

“Lhasa hasn’t had a Covid outbreak for the past three years, the city doesn’t have enough experience in controlling the epidemic.”

 

“It’s the 42nd day of lockdown,” another person wrote on Friday: “People are lining up to go to centralized isolation, Lhasa has been in lockdown longer than Chengdu, but it doesn’t make it to the hot topic lists. People who tested negative again and again suddenly turn out to be positive. Lhasa hasn’t had a Covid outbreak for the past three years, the city doesn’t have enough experience in controlling the epidemic. It’s going to be hard to restore tourism here before the end of the year. Before, big crowds would come to visit.

Over the past few days, following a heightened focus on the situation in Xinjiang, there has also been more attention for the epidemic situation in Tibet.

“Please pay more attention to the topic of the Lhasa epidemic,” one person wrote, repeating a similar message sent out by many others: “Lhasa doesn’t need your prayers, we need exposure.”

On Friday, one popular gamer with more than a million followers wrote on Weibo:

“Many have been reaching out to me via private messages, saying that the epidemic situation in Tibet’s Lhasa is very serious. If it’s really like this, I hope matters can be settled as soon as possible. I don’t know if this post can stay up or not, but I want to try my best to speak up and generate more attention to this epidemic trend. I experienced two months of lockdown in Shanghai myself and understand what it feels like. I have faith in our nation, and I believe the country will definitely take action. Everyone in Tibet, jiayou [come on].”

Many of the comments and posts coming from Lhasa are similar to those we saw last week, coming from Yining in Xinjiang. Social media users based in these places complain that many of their posts have been deleted and that it is very difficult for local residents to make their voices heard.

This is different from the previous lockdown situations in, for example, Xi’an, Shanghai, or Chengdu, where people posted videos, photos, and shared their lockdown experiences, either from home, from the Covid testing lines, or from the makeshift hospitals.

On the one hand, the reason why people in places such as Lhasa or Yining have more difficulties in making their stories heard in China’s hectic social media environment relates to the fact that these places have a relatively small population size – while Yining and Lhasa have approximately 542,00 and 465,000 inhabitants respectively, there are 21 million people in Chengdu and some 26 million in Shanghai.

But a bigger barrier to posting about their circumstances is formed by the social media censorship that is extra strict when it comes to Xinjiang and Tibet as these places are considered sensitive political subjects, which is why topics related to these regions see far more aggressive online censorship – even for seemingly innocuous posts.

One Weibo user with over 600,000 followers wrote: “In such a sensitive place as Tibet, I really needn’t worry about whether they’re gonna see my post or not. I posted to vent my anger and scolded the leadership for a bit and within 24 hours the police came to my hotel and asked me to delete my posts. Now that everyone is asking for help like this, they will definitely see it, but they are determined to do this and do so on purpose, it’s clear they don’t care about people’s lives.”

Meanwhile, Chinese official media reporting on the epidemic situation in Tibet stress the collective effort to fight the virus in Lhasa. On September 15, People’s Daily reported how 18 sister provinces and cities across China sent their best teams to Tibet to help with local anti-epidemic work and to bring supplies.

The Tibet-based military blogger ZhufengZhengrong (@珠峰峥嵘) writes: “It’s been over a month and my comrade-in-arms are still fighting on the front line (..). I just hope the epidemic will end soon, and that I will be able to meet my family and hold my children and weep.”

By Manya Koetse 

 

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©2022 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

Young Chinese Woman Dies at Haidilao Hotpot Restaurant

The woman allegedly choked while having beef tripe.

Manya Koetse

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On September 8, a woman from Putian in Fujian Province unexpectedly passed away while having hotpot at a Haidilao restaurant in a local mall.

The incident went trending on Chinese social media on Thursday, with the hashtags “Woman Suddenly Passes Away While Having Haidilao Hotpot” (#女孩海底捞吃火锅意外身亡#) and “Haidilao Responds to Female Customer Passing Away During Dinner” (#海底捞回应女顾客就餐时身亡#) receiving 50 million and 300 million views respectively.

According to various Chinese news reports, the 21-year-old woman had just finished eating beef tripe, the edible lining from the cow stomach, and drank some water after which she suddenly became unwell.

Footage circulating on Chinese social media shows how restaurant staff gave first aid to the woman by performing the Heimlich maneuver while emergency workers were underway.

Although it is rumored the young woman choked on the tripe, this has not yet been confirmed as an investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. The Haidilao restaurant where the incident happened is currently closed, and Haidilao responded that they are deeply saddened and will do all they can to fully cooperate with the police to investigate the case.

Haidilao (海底捞) is one of China’s most popular restaurant chains serving authentic Sichuan hotpot, a dining style where fresh meat and vegetables are dipped in simmering broth. Besides its tasty hotpot and wide selection of ingredients and drinks, Haidilao is known for its high-quality service. The staff is thoroughly trained in providing the best customer service, and Haidilao has introduced new concepts throughout the years to enhance the customer experience.

Haidilao is a very reputable company and is known to respond quickly to avert social media crises (example here and here).

As the story goes trending, many Chinese netizens point out the choking hazard of beef tripe. One lung doctor (@呼吸科大夫胡洋) also responded to the incident, suggesting that the Heimlich maneuver might not have been life-saving in this case since beef tripe is long and soft and could block the respiratory tract if the Heimlich maneuver is performed while the person is standing up, since it could potentially cause the tripe to go deeper instead of being pushed out.

The doctor recommends in these kind of emergency situations that if possible, for a chance of survival, the person could then be placed into an upside down, upper body down position for the Heimlich maneuver.

Other doctors on Weibo also use this moment to provide more information about how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Many online commenters think Haidilao is not necessarily to blame for what happened. “Judging from the video, the staff was quick and correct in their response. As for why the woman could not have been rescued, we’ll have to wait for the final reports.”

By Manya Koetse 

 

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Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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