Social Issues

Women turn to self-defense in China after vicious attack goes viral

By Lorena Cantó

Beijing, Jul 13 (EFE).- Women in China have turned to self-defense after a harrowing video of a group of men attacking four young women at a restaurant in Tangshan, Hebei province, sparked outrage and concern for the safety of women.

Yang, Xu and Charlotte, a group of 15-year-old friends, joined a Beijing gym last week after being shocked by the surveillance footage of the vicious gang attack that went viral on social media.

“We are shocked. For the first time, we realized that this type of thing happens in our society,” Charlotte tells Efe after a class. “Although this incident is not a common phenomenon, it is a wake-up call for us.”


Phones have not stopped ringing at the Jiu Fu boxing center since the attack went viral.

Instructor Liu Hongdou says that two or three days after the video was published classes were fully booked up.

Social media has put a spotlight on something that “is not new, it has always been there,” she adds.

Standing on a tatami, Liu shows seven students how to avoid danger in different scenarios: in a taxi, being dragged to the ground, how to run to escape an aggressor or how to strike someone from a lower position “because they like to grab the victim by the neck,” the instructor explains.

The women learn to punch without gloves because “in real-life situations, they’re not going to wear them,” the teacher adds.

Liu grew up in Hubei, where she says street violence is common.

But in Beijing, Liu says women don’t have much awareness of safety.


The deputy police chief in Tangshan was recently dismissed following accusations the police responded too slowly to the attack. And even though the alleged perpetrators have been arrested, the topic still remains hot on social media in China.

The video has also stirred up a debate on gender violence.

While China does have an Anti-Domestic Violence Law created in 2016, social media posts “instigating gender conflict” about the Tangshan incident were flagged down by authorities.

Concerns over the issue even echoed at China’s national people’s congress in March.

A revised draft bill for China’s women’s rights law was published in December in Legal Daily, a state-backed newspaper.

The revised draft included changes to sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace as well as calling for outlawing brainwashing and female morality classes, where women are taught to be submissive to men and which have thrived for the last 20 years.

Yonina Chan, head of the women’s division at Krav Maga Global China, says they only became aware of the recent attack after receiving an unusually high number of inquiries for female self-defense classes.

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