By Xiaofeng Shi
So much for those “Good Samaritan” laowai. Footage of a British tourist sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in a Beijing public scene hit the Web this week, igniting a firestorm of anti-Laowai hysteria in the Weibo-sphere and beyond.
Beijing Times reports today that the incident happened at about 11 pm last Saturday. The tall tourist with dark complexion was spotted forcing himself on a woman in distress next to Beijing’s Xuanwumen Metro Station. A number of passers-by came to put down the offender as his victim cried out for help. The episode was videotaped and subsequently shared online.
Beijing Public Security Bureau’s official Weibo account has since released an announcement that the perpetrator is a British citizen on a tourist visa, and is currently being held in custody pending further investigation. He was reportedly intoxicated at the time of committing the alleged act.
Footage of the incident, titled “Laowai, we’re kicking you out of China” (老外，我们把你打出中国去), was initially uploaded to Youku and lasts about 3 minutes.
The uploader, surnamed Zhang, said he was told at 11:20pm of the sexual assault by a friend. He quickly ran to a site around 100 metres south of Xuanwumen and began recording.
A man in black, known only as Mr. Yang, can be seen in the footage asking about the situation, only to be told by the woman — who, at this point has been stripped down to her underpants and is being held down on by the British tourist — that she doesn’t know who he is. The tourist promptly lets go of her and turns around to leave.
Then it gets physical. Mr. Yang starts an altercation with the tourist, and the fight continues off-camera. Pedestrians can be seen gathering around the tourist as Mr. Yang wrestles him to the ground. The footage ends with the tourist, in a torn-up shirt, lying unconscious.
The video has spread like wildfire on social media sites with more than 5 million views and over 80 thousand comments in 2 days of posting. Discussion sections are filled with a flood of disgust and anger, in addition to overwhelming words of praise for the Good Samaritans who came to the woman’s rescue.
According to the police, the tourist, who speaks no Chinese, was found unconscious when they arrived at the scene and was transported to Xuanwu Hospital. He woke up four days later.
Netizens took to Weibo about the foreigner’s serial sexual offences.
User “Burning Off Beautiful Youth” (烧完美好青春) posted an image that appears to be of the same tourist harassing female passengers on the subway. The user wrote that he saw a bald foreigner molesting at least four women by grinding his manhood toward them, one of them being in her 50s. The man allegedly flirted with his victims after finishing the dirty deed. Xiao said the bald man appeared to be about 25 years old and 185cm tall.
Another user claimed a foreigner had indiscriminately molested all the standing female passengers in two carriages, including herself. He either blew air to them, touched their hands or patted their backs, despite their verbal or silent complaints. She confirmed the bald man in the footage was the alleged offender.