On Saturday, the manager of the Beijing hotel where a woman was nearly abducted last week during a five minute struggle that was witnessed by multiple passersby who decided not to step in, caught on surveillance camera and published online, shocking the nation, made some rather dismissive comments about the whole affair.
Speaking to reporters outside a Beijing courthouse where preliminary hearings are being held, the hotel manager had this to say: “I think it is hyped up. First, nobody died. Second there was no fire. Third, there was no rape.”
Unsurprisingly, his comments instantly went viral with netizens coming out to condemn the manager and call for a boycott of Home Inns hotels nationwide.
“The quality of management absolutely reflects the quality of the hotel. Do you still dare to spend the night there?” one netizen asked.
“Right now, I’m staying at a Home Inns hotel, obviously I am on my way to check out,” echoed another.
Home Inns also didn’t appreciate the comments made by one of their employees, quickly releasing a statement on its official Weibo page to say that his views do not reflect at all the position of the company. Moreover, they said his comments broke company rules and he will be handled severely.
Watch the brief interview here:
The attack on the woman became the hottest topic in China after Weibo user “Wanwan_2016” posted a shocking account of her near abduction at a Home Inns hotel, managed by Yitel Hotel, in Beijing’s popular 798 Art District. Wanwan said that as she was returning to her room late last Sunday night, she was assaulted by a man who tried to kidnap her.
In the ensuing struggle that lasted five minutes, multiple passersby witnessed the woman trying to fight off her attacker, but did nothing to help, including one hotel worker who merely told them to please not fight in the hall, believing that they were a couple, despite the woman’s desperate pleas to the contrary.
Eventually a woman did stop to help and the attacker was forced to flee. Wanwan wrote that afterward both police and hotel management were initially extremely unhelpful in investigating her case.
However, that all quickly changed when surveillance footage of the attack was posted online by Wanwan on her Weibo page. The video went viral and Home Inns swiftly issued a statement apologizing to the woman, while police jumped on the case.
Online observers believed that the root cause of the crime may have lied in the rampant sex trade offered at budget hotels in China. Journalists found trashcans in the hallways of the hotel littered with cards offering sex services.
On Thursday, their suspicions were confirmed with the arrest of the man in the video, a 24-year-old surnamed Li. He was caught by police in Xuchang city, Henan province, 760 km from Beijing. He confessed that he had been slipping call cards with information about prostitution under doors at the hotel when he spotted the woman, and believed that she was not a guest, but competition. He called his gang and started trying to drag her away.
Two days later, police announced that four other members of Li’s gang had been detained over the shocking hotel attack.
While Wanwan and her supporters applauded the arrest of the people involved in her shocking attack, for many netizens it also served as further evidence that the Chinese police and legal system needs work, via the BBC:
“When something happens, it seems like taking to social media is more useful than dialing 110 [the police number in China],” one netizen commented.
“I’m still very angry! Your police statement came too late! We forced it out of you! There are thousands of other women like Wanwan whose cases haven’t been resolved!” another wrote in.
[Video via Meipai / Images via Sina]