A court in Lijiang has finally rendered a verdict in the case of a young woman who was brutally attacked and cut up by a group of men last year, sentencing her attackers to between 1 and 3.5 years in prison — a verdict that many netizens believe is not harsh enough.
The gruesome attack took place at about 3:00 a.m. on November 11th inside a late night barbeque shop in the Yunnan tourist town where around a dozen drunk men attacked a pair of female tourists. In an account of the incident published on social media, one of the victims said that she was hit in the back of the head with a beer bottle, beat up and then dragged out into the street where one man used the broken shards of a bottle to cut open her face, telling her that he wanted to scar her for life.
While the attack occurred out in public, no one stepped in to stop it. Afterward, the men took away their victims’ phones and told them to tell the police that they had had an “accident.” The thugs added that they had good connections with local authorities.
By January, the victim was so frustrated with the pace of the Lijiang police’s investigation into the attack that she decided to tell the whole world her story through her Weibo account. The post also included a series of shocking photos of her injuries, showing her with a swollen face covered in blood, a pair of black eyes and a long gash running down the length of her nose requiring six stitches.
Her post quickly went viral online with Weibo users accusing the police of trying to cover up the crime. The Lijiang Public Security Bureau responded quickly by setting up a special task force and arresting six suspects.
Over the next month, things did not become any easier for the woman. In the hospital, she told reporters that the attackers had trampled on her appearance and dignity and broke her spirit. She said that because of the attack, her mother had become sick, her boyfriend had broken up with her and she had gone 150,000 yuan into debt due to all the medical bills, leading her to write a suicide note online which read: “Mom, when you see this message, maybe I will have left this world. I don’t know how I can keep on living. I don’t have any courage…”
The woman went through two medical evaluations which both found that she had suffered only “second-grade minor injuries” at the hands of her attackers. A result she found ludicrous whenever she looked in the mirror. At the same time, she wondered out loud how police had only managed to arrest six suspects, when she says there were at least nine men involved in the attack.
After months of delay, a district court in Lijiang finally issued its verdict in the case, sentencing the six defendants to varying terms of imprisonments including 1 year, 2 years and 3.5 years on charges of intentional assault and disorderly behavior. All of the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges and will not appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, the victim has said that she is not sure yet if she will challenge the verdict or not — though many online are calling for her to do just that. “When you do that someone’s face, it is for life. Even 20 years is not enough,” reads one comment on a Weibo post with more than 30,000 likes. Another comment, saying that the judge had given the defendants a “slap on the wrist,” has nearly 100,000 likes.
[Images via 红星新闻 / @琳哒是我 / Sina]
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