Cities, with their masses of people and unrelenting bustle, become different beasts when the mercury rises every summer. For proto-urban jungle New York, the case has been made and unmade for climbing temperatures also leading to a corresponding spike in violent crime.
If you’ve ever seen Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam, a fictionalized account of David Berkowitz’s 1977 New York murder-spree, then you already grasp the palpable link between summer heat and crime. As clothing starts sticking to skin, tempers flare, passions overrun, and people start to lose their shit.
The same might unfortunately be true in Shanghai and elsewhere in China.
At 12:19pm on May 13th, the female bus driver of the 116 route in Shanghai’s Baoshan district experienced her own personal Speed-moment when a male passenger assaulted her for three minutes on end. The assault occurred due to a misunderstanding after the driver, Zhou Weiqin, announced that she would be taking the bus onto the Yixian elevated road, and heard no response or protest from her passengers. A bald male passenger surnamed Shen with a scorpion sticker applied on his face then approached her, shouting ‘Why didn’t you get off at the Zhanghuabang stop?’ He then began to assault Zhou while she tried to maintain control of the vehicle, eventually throwing her from the vehicle after Zhou managed to park the bus near Wusong bridge. The male passenger left the scene, leaving behind a bag with several medication bottles for depression. The suspect has since been apprehended, and will undergo psychological evaluation. Zhou is currently still hospitalized, with injuries to her cervix, ribs and vertebrae. True to form, no passengers were reported to have come to Zhou’s aid.
On the 26th, a forty-something doctor surnamed Zhu was stabbed with a fruit knife by a colleague at the Lingyun Street Community Health Center in Shanghai’s Xuhui district. The incident occurred at around 10:40am in an acupuncture massage therapy room, with the victim being rushed to the nearby Dahua hospital soon afterwards. The hospital later released a statement saying that Zhu had received 9 stab wounds, with 7 in his back and 2 in his left arm, and that his condition is stable. The suspect has been apprehended, with no motive yet established.
And in the Tongzhou district of Beijing, Shanghai Daily reports that a 42-year-old surnamed Wen has been accused of murdering his neighbor’s fraternal twins out of jealousy and depression over gambling debts. Wen invited his neighbor’s children on an outing with his own son last Saturday, and drove to a hotel in the outskirts of Beijing, where he then suffocated both of his neighbor’s children. Wen was apprehended Monday, and claimed that he wanted to ‘avenge his failure’ in life, and that he envied the life of his neighbor. Wen’s son and his neighbor’s fraternal twins were classmates at the same school.
Why is it that criminals who cite frustration as a motive always take it out on someone else’s children? Last year saw six separate violent kindergarten attacks across China that left dozens of children dead, including one stretch of three incidents in the span of three days.
All of this violent crime will of course only justify the recent announcement that the Shanghai Public Security authorities plans to double the number of public surveillance cameras in the next 5 years. Eastday reports that 50,000 more cameras will be added to squares, parks, roads and underground spaces. All of the city’s docks, airports and railway stations will also be ‘fully covered’.
So what’s to be done to avoid all this violence and camera monitoring? We recommend staying indoors as much as possible.
Information on the Xuhui doctor attack and the 116 bus assault translated from Zhejiang Online News and Eastday, respectively.
By Fan Huang