Smoker’s beat­ing of woman widely con­demned

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­

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.”

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