Nine people have been arrested on suspicion of violently assaulting several women at a restaurant in China.
A surveillance video from a BBQ restaurant in Tangshan, a coastal city in the northern Hebei province, at 2.40am on Friday showed a man approaching a table where four women were seated, before placing his hand on one of their backs.
She dismissed the man a number of times, sending him into a rage before he slapped her. The woman fought back, triggering a brawl.
A group of men entered the restaurant and began brutally attacking the woman and her dining partners, including shoving them to the ground, kicking them and throwing a chair at them.
More footage taken outside the restaurant appeared to show the attackers dragging the woman who had rebuffed the man’s advances out of the restaurant and beating her violently while most passersby and patrons looked on.
The footage of the attack and shocking images of the woman lying on a stretcher went viral online, sparking public outcry and renewal of conversations about misogyny and mistreatment of women in China.
It follows the emergence of a seperate viral video earlier this year which showed a woman being chained to a wall in a hut. The footage stirred up major public backlash after authorities initially denied that she was a victim of human trafficking. She was later found to have been sold as a bride.
According to a statement issued by authorities, all nine suspects were arrested on Saturday,
Two women had sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were receiving treatment in a hospital. Their condition was reported to be stable. Two others were slightly injured.
The footage of what happened both inside and outside the restaurant was just under five minutes.
The Weibo microblogging platform user who was among the first to post the videos said in a post that it was “heartbreaking” to watch.
“Does that mean that dining out is so unsafe now, do we have to bring men with us everywhere we go?” the post read. “(These men) are no different from thugs.”
The user declined to reveal the source of the videos, stating that it was “inconvenient” to do so.
The footage filmed inside the restaurant had garnered over 68 million views by Sunday, while the video showing the graphic assault outside the restaurant had been taken down.
The attack and slow progress in making the arrests by Tangshan police were criticised widely on social media.
“I’m a woman, and I have a daughter,” said one Weibo user with the handle BaobaomaoDaren.
“I wonder — as I’m creating value for society and spreading positive energy, will this society protect me and my child?”
State broadcaster CCTV said that the suspects must be arrested as quickly as possible and “punished severely in accordance with the law”.
With additional reporting from AP