A horrific video of a 2-year-old boy being pummelled into the pavement by a man as two people pass by without intervening has emerged online, with netizens expressing concern for the child and calling for the attacker to be sentenced to death.
According to Xinhua News, at around 8 p.m. on the evening of May 4, a young child was playing unsupervised on the street outside a restaurant in Yan’an, Shaanxi province. Without warning a man walking down the street kicks the boy to the floor and begins to launch a brutal assault lasting nearly 40 seconds in length.
During the attack, in which at one point the man uses a broom to repeatedly strike the child, a motorcyclist and a pedestrian witness the horrific scene but choose not to intervene (bystander effect?). Eventually the child’s family and restaurant patrons rush out and push the attacker away.
The child is currently receiving treatment at Xi’an Children’s Hospital and is said to be in a relatively stable condition. His parents told reporters that he has a brain haemorrhage and several fractured bones.
The attacker, surnamed Wang, was later intercepted by police and is currently being detained. He comes from a village in Luochuan county near Yan’an and is reported to have schizophrenia.
The National Institute of Mental Health says that schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder characterised by delusions or dysfunctional ways of thinking. It should be noted that only a small proportion of those with schizophrenia will display violent behaviour.
Netizens commenting on the story were very unforgiving, with most calling for the attacker to receive the death sentence. One of the most popular comments by a user named @香颂_调 reads: “Even if he is mentally ill, he should still be put to death.”
In the coming days, this story is likely to generate as much controversy as the double hit-and-run of the two-year-old girl Yueyue in 2011, who was also playing unsupervised outside and ignored by several passers-by while in clear need of help.
UPDATE, May 9, 6:37am: The boy is now in a stable condition and has left hospital to continue his recovery.
WARNING: This video contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing.