Video of a violent attack on a Chinese woman at a low-budget hotel in Beijing has gone viral, sparking an entire nation to voice its anger at the woman’s desperate cries for help going ignored by hotel staff and her calls to police being simply brushed off.
The massive scandal broke on Tuesday with a post from Weibo user “Wanwan_2016” that described how she had been viciously attacked by a stranger in a hotel hallway and ignored by passersby, hotel staff and later police.
According to Wanwan, the attack took place shortly before 11 p.m. on Sunday as she was returning to her room at a Home Inns Group hotel, managed by Yitel Hotel, in Beijing’s popular 798 Art District. As she was fumbling around for her room keys inside her purse after getting off the elevator on the fourth floor, a man in a black jacket suddenly attacked her, attempting to drag her away as she struggled to break free.
Incredibly, the struggle kept up for 5 minutes with a number of people passing by, but none choosing to step in and help save the woman, including a hotel employee who simply told Wanwan and her attacker to please not fight in the hall, believing them to be a couple, despite the woman’s repeated screams to the contrary and desperate pleas for help.
She says that she tried to run back to the elevator, but her attacker grabbed her forcibly by the hair and threw her to the floor. Finally, another woman stepped in, grabbing the victim, causing the man to retreat and the nightmare to end.
Along with this account, Wanwan also uploaded surveillance footage that appears to show the attack in question. This video has since gone viral on the Chinese internet, with over 6 million views.
According to Wanwan, police came directly after the incident, checked the surveillance footage and took witness statements. However, when she later contacted the local police station looking to see how the investigation was progressing, she was brushed off, told that it was “outside their purview,” and that investigators to handle her case wouldn’t be available until Thursday.
The woman also criticized the response of the hotel itself, writing that she was not able to reach the hotel manager by phone the next day. However, after the story went viral, Home Inns Group, suddenly became more responsive, issuing an apology and statement on their official Weibo account on Wednesday, saying that they were taking the incident seriously and working with police.
But, Wanwan says that when the hotel did finally call her back, it was merely to try to bribe her into silence. “I am so disappointed,” she said.
While the hotel and police may have been slow to react to the attack, social media certainly has not been. A hashtag for the incident quickly became the hottest trending topic on Weibo, being viewed over 2 billion times, before comments were no longer allowed. Discussion of the story has also been censored on other Chinese social media sites as Chinese censors struggle to deal with nationwide outrage over the incident.
It especially seems to have hit home with Chinese women, who expressed how they often do not feel safe in China, particularly at hotels by themselves. On her Weibo page, Wanwan has called for netizens to share the video and her story, so that more women can learn from her terrifying experience. At the same time, she is also calling for officials to solve the case and punish those responsible, with tens of thousands of netizens backing her up in her search for justice.
Answering her call, some of her supporters have begun showing up at the hotel, holding up signs questioning the handling of the case, as well as women’s safety in China.
Meanwhile, netizens have also been trying to discover the root cause of the violent incident. On Weibo, Wanwan revealed that during the attack she was terrified she would be abducted and forced into prostitution. Journalists have begun investigating the cheap hotel’s connection with the sex trade.
Inside trash cans in the corridors of the hotel, reporters discovered a number of cards offering sex services. Here’s how SCMP described them:
The palm-sized cards feature photographs of scantily clad women and colourful writing stating “Beautiful Night Leisure Club” and “Special offer of 200 yuan with official invoice provided”, along with mobile telephone numbers.
The back of the cards carry lists of sex services described in explicit language.
The Beijing News rang one number printed on the card and a man who answered the call said he was only 10 minutes away from the hotel and could arrange “services” by “white-collar workers”, “air stewardesses” and “students” at different prices.
Watch the shocking video below:
天哪！【和颐酒店女生遇袭】网友弯弯说 "太可怕了！我在和颐酒店电梯出口，碰到了陌生人强行拖拽！对方还掐我脸颊和脖子不让我呼救，幸好我拖延了时间，还遇到了好心人路过阻拦。 "
Posted by Shanghaiist 中文版 on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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