Attack on women at restaurant sparks outcry in China

Eight men involved in an attack that left two women hospitalized were arrested for ‘provoking trouble’

Eight people have been arrested for a vicious attack on a group of women at a restaurant in China, police said yesterday, in a case that has sparked outrage over predatory sexual behavior.

Footage of the incident widely circulated online shows a man placing his hand on a woman’s back as she shares a meal with two companions at a barbecue restaurant in northern China’s Hebei Province.

After the woman pushes him away, the man strikes her before others drag her outside and deal a barrage of blows as she lies on the ground. Another woman is also knocked to the floor.

The video renewed an online debate about sexual harassment and gender-based violence in China, where the conversation around women’s rights has grown in recent years, despite pressure from a patriarchal society, Internet censorship and patchy legal support.

Campaigners say that pervasive domestic abuse remains under-reported, while prominent feminists also face regular police harassment and detention.

Web censors blocked keywords linked to the #MeToo movement after a wave of women accused university professors of sexual harassment in 2018.

Police in Tangshan city yesterday said they had arrested eight people on suspicion of violent assault and “provoking trouble,” while a search for one other suspect was ongoing.

Two women treated at hospital following the incident were “in stable conditions and not in mortal danger,” while two others sustained minor injuries, authorities said on Friday.

The attack generated hundreds of millions of comments on social media, where users slammed predatory behavior and urged authorities to crack down on violence against women.

“All of this could happen to me, could happen to any of us,” one commenter said in a post liked more than 100,000 times.

“How is this sort of thing still happening in 2022?” another wrote. “Please give them criminal sentences.”

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