Approximately 35 security guards at a KTV (karaoke) parlor in the outskirts of Kunming have been detained, in connection to the fatal beating of a teenage boy that took place around 2:30am on October 7th.
Two guards argued with three teenaged customers early Friday morning, and eventually called for backup from Yunnan Ruibang Security Service Co (云南瑞邦保安服务有限公司), the local security company they were affiliated with.
17-year-old Fu Guojun (符国俊) was with his cousin and another friend eating roadside barbecue opposite the KTV when a mob of 35 security guards armed with wooden clubs and iron rods attacked them. That’s somewhat better than a ten-to-one ratio for security guards vs. unarmed kids. Unity is Strength, right guys?
Fu died several hours later, around 9am on Friday morning in a nearby hospital. His cousin and friend were also injured in the attack, and are currently still recuperating.
Hundreds of residents protested on Friday afternoon outside the Dabanqiao (大阪桥) neighborhood committee office, where many of the guards were working.
We once joked about getting into a fight with a kid fresh out of high school from the western Guangdong city of Zhanjiang (湛江, formerly a French colony known as Fort-Bayard), and he kept responding with, “Really? You’ll fight me and my brothers?”, and refused to consider a fight between only the two of us.
It might be quite anecdotal, but we’ve gathered that a fight is never a mano-a-mano affair in China. It might start out that way with only a few people involved, but if it’s serious enough, fights tend to turn into group outings. It might be traced back to Chinese communitarianism, a national mob mentality, or a simple understanding that you’re expected to stick up for your friends and people from your hometown when a cousin’s classmate’s sister’s boyfriend’s nephew is in trouble.
Oftentimes, loose gangs of “brothers” are the only protection available for people from lower socio-economic strata, especially when young migrant workers find themselves in strange new cities. Young men arming themselves with brute weapons for one of their own’s sake are doing so in the expectation that, when the time comes, the one being helped would fight to help the others.
The obverse of the group-oriented notion of conflict resolution is that, when a group of security guards or chengguan get a bit too violent, there’s always the hope they’ll get their asses handed to them from crowds of curious rubberneckers milling-about that eventually get indignant enough to be declared righteous citizens seeking justice. The collective thing runs both ways.