28 charged with brutally beating women at restaurant, sparking outrage in China

A Chinese court has charged 28 people involved in the brutal assault of four women at a restaurant in northeast China two months ago.

In the CCTV footage that made international headlines, a group of men were filmed violently beat four women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan on June 10. A woman can be seen being dragged by the hair, hit with bottles, and struck repeatedly in the head.

The incident sparked national outrage and sparked a debate about violence against women in China, with many demanding harsh punishments for the abusers and accountability for police who failed to respond in time.

On Monday, authorities from the Hebei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement that 28 people had been prosecuted. The accused allegedly committed crimes since 2012, including robbery, operation of illegal casinos, intentional injury and unlawful detention of others.

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The statement did not specify the charges related to the attack on the barbecue restaurant in June. Authorities also noted that sexual assault rumors or other forms of violence associated with the attack were “false information”.

In a separate investigation, authorities said they were investigating 15 officials for corruption involving “evil organizations” associated with the attackers. Eight officials, including the head of a district police station in Tangshan, were arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes and offering protection to the defendants.

Two of the assaulted women had previously been sent to a hospital, where they remained until July 1, while the other two victims suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

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One of the victims, whose identity has been concealed, appeared in an interview with Chinese state media CCTV, where she recounted the events of the night of the brutal beating.

“We were beaten by several men. After the beatings, they told us not to call the police or ask anyone for help, otherwise they would kill us. They then fled,” she reportedly said.

Despite widespread censorship, discussions of gender-based violence and concerns about women’s safety in mainland China have been in the public spotlight.

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In July, a video of a man ambush his ex-wife and her daughter in Laiyang, China also went viral. Another video of a man drag a woman in the toilets of a bar shocked the citizens. At the beginning of August, a man was filmed several times crush his girlfriend with his car in broad daylight.

Netizens continue to call for more action on gender equality and tougher laws and penalties for abusers.

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Image selected via Reuters

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