Chinese court jails man for 24 years for attacking women at Tangshan restaurant

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A court in the northern Chinese province of Hebei has sentenced a man to 24 years in prison for brutally assaulting several women at a barbecue restaurant in June.

“Defendant Chen Jizhi, the prime culprit involved in the intimidation and brutal assault of four women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan … was sentenced to 24 years in prison and a fine of 320,000 yuan (US$45,215),” the Global Times quoted as saying. the Guangyang District People’s Court in Langfang City in Hebei.

The case sparked international headlines and domestic public anger after surveillance video of the incident showed four women eating dinner at a barbecue restaurant that evening were brutally attacked by a group of men in the early hours of June 10. , after one of them harassed a woman, who waved her hand at her bully and fought back after being punched, causing the others to join in to fend off the man.

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The remaining 27 defendants received prison terms ranging from six months to 11 years, and 19 of them received fines ranging from 3,000 to 135,000 yuan, the report said.

“Chen Jizhi, the main culprit and other five defendants will compensate the four victims accordingly for the costs incurred for medical treatment, nursing, food subsidies, transportation and other losses,” the newspaper reported.

The court heard Chen attacked a woman nicknamed Wang after she “rejected his inappropriate approach,” according to the Global Times.

“Later, Chen and other defendants attacked and kicked the four women with chairs and wine bottles, and one of the defendants even threatened the victims not to report the incident to the police,” it said.

The attackers can also be seen in the video footage dragging one of the women out of the restaurant to continue beating her out. One was taken away on a stretcher with a visibly bloodied and swollen face.

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The initial claim that the women had suffered “minor injuries” was met with skepticism on social media, with many comments saying the punishment was too lenient.

“I feel sad for my country and sad for Tangshan,” a comment read, to which one social media user replied: “Shouldn’t the most important thing be to be sad for the victims?”

Another commented on footage of Chen crying as the verdict was read: “He’s crying so much because he’s afraid of going to jail, not out of genuine regret. He’s unworthy of our sympathy.”

Much of the public outcry at the time of the attack was centered on the fact that no one watching intervened to stop the subsequent brutal beating of the women who fend off the initial attack, which left four women injured, one of whom two were hospitalized.

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Rather than engage in public criticism of state-enabled male violence, the official response has centered on allegations that the attackers were members of a local organized crime group with ties to local police.

On social media platform Weibo, where a report by state broadcaster CCTV garnered 1.2 million likes, user @everyday3kmbaseline commented: “How could such a big fish slip through the net? Could they have done it without someone? [in the government] protect them?”

User @Taikoo Artifacts said the jail sentence was in response to “unstoppable public opinion”, praising the official response, while @YuYanyan wrote: “No parole, no parole, no parole”, and @hair_never_grows noted on: “Only 24 years in prison.”

@Xiao_Yuqi, @Fang_Hongbang and @road_no_promise_59764 agreed and called for the death penalty for Chen, while @A_child_1920 added: “Striking strongly recommended.”

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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