A woman in her mid-30s had her throat cut after slapping a man who groped her on a public bus, Beijing newspaper Legal Evening News reported Tuesday.
At around 8 a.m. during the Monday morning rush hour, a woman identified only by her surname, Gong, was stabbed on Bus 582 in Beijing’s Tongzhou District. When Gong felt another passenger touching her inappropriately, she slapped him; he retaliated by brandishing a fruit knife and stabbing her. The driver and fellow passengers subdued the 26-year-old attacker from northeastern China’s Liaoning province until police arrived and took him into custody.
Gong’s brother told Legal Evening News that a vein and a nerve in his sister’s neck had been severed, and that she suffered four stab wounds, including one to her lung. Gong reportedly lost a large amount of blood and was unconscious when emergency services arrived. She was rushed to hospital to undergo surgery and remains in the intensive care unit.
Gong, a white-collar worker who takes public transport to and from her office every day, has a 7-year-old son in his first year of elementary school. Her brother said the family have told the boy that his mother went on a business trip.
Tongzhou police released a statement on their Weibo microblog account on Monday afternoon giving an account of the attack, though they did not mention that the woman had been sexually harassed. The statement was reposted by Feminist Voices, a Beijing-based nongovernmental organization promoting gender equality, with accompanying text that reads: “Is it risky to resist sexual harassment on public transport?”
There have been several cases in the last few months of serious consequences befalling women who defend themselves against sexual harassment on public transport in China. In May, a woman who used a phone to film a taxi driver as he masturbated next to her was detained by police under an anti-pornography law. Another case saw a woman get hit by a man she says molested her on the Beijing subway and then sued for defamation when she posted about the incident on her Weibo microblog.
“If you look at the recent incidents collectively, you can see a trend among the public, who expect victims to be perfect,” Guangzhou-based feminist activist Zhang Leilei told Sixth Tone on Wednesday. According to Zhang, the public looks to victims to determine why harassment takes place, often claiming they did not protect themselves well enough, or that they have some problem that explains why bad things happen to them.
In southern China, transport authorities have resisted public condemnations of sexual harassment, rejecting plans by Guangzhou-based advocacy group F Feminist to display an anti-sexual harassment billboard in the city’s subway. Both Guangzhou and Shenzhen have opted to give dedicated subway cars for female passengers a try instead.
According to a Beijing Youth Daily report on July 7, police recently began a crackdown on “wolves” — a euphemistic term for the perpetrators of sexual harassment — on the capital’s public transport network. The initiative has police patrolling the city’s subway during the morning and evening rush hours. As of June 16, 20 people had been taken into custody.
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: Passengers crowd into a packed bus in Beijing, July 9, 2012. Sun Shiqi/VCG)