Smoker’s beating of woman widely condemned
Video footage from inside an elevator of a mother being beaten by a man has received wide attention online since it was posted on Weibo on Thursday.
The incident happened on the morning of Oct 12 in an apartment elevator in Langfang, Hebei province. The women, surnamed Li, entered the elevator with her son. A man who appeared to be in his early 30s followed. He was smoking a cigarette.
Li asked the man to smoke in the hallway, not in the elevator, which is prohibited. The man responded by punching Li in the head repeatedly for more than 30 seconds in front of her child. She tried kicking him away, but was overpowered.
The footage shows the man exiting the elevator and Li following him in an attempt to take his picture on her cellphone.
“I have never seen such savagery in my life. He is an animal,” Li told police officers shortly after the incident. An investigation is ongoing. The man has not yet been apprehended.
The video has been viewed more than 4.3 million times on China Central Television’s Miaopai account, with many netizens condemning the man’s behavior and praising the mother.
“He may have the right to smoke and harm his lungs, but she has the right to not be exposed to secondhand smoke. Everybody should stop smoking in public,” said Mu Feifan on Sina Weibo.
However, some public opinion shifted focus when online celebrity and social critic Wang Xi a os han criticized them other for being irresponsible.
“She should know better than to confront the smoker and put her son in danger,” Wang said on Weibo on Friday. “She left her son alone in the elevator to film the attacker. The elevator door almost crushed the kid. She deserves another beating for this.”
Wang was criticized for his remarks, with many netizens calling him a hypocrite and accusing him of “blaming the victim”.
Li Mingshun, a professor of law at China Women’s University, said: “Society shouldn’t turn a blind eye to misdemeanors. In hindsight, she might have dealt with the issue differently, but her principle of upholding what’s right should be celebrated, not criticized.”
Others expressed concerns about violence in general.
“Violence is contagious,” said Shi Feike, a researcher at East China University of Political Science and Law. “I don’t wish for China to be ruled by the law of the jungle. Government institutions should prevent and discourage violence.”