Tuesday, April 16

Viral beating of women sparks self-defense fever in China


The video of a beating in a Chinese city for a group of men to some young women that they refused his “attentions” and that horrified the population has put the country’s women on a war footing, especially in the big cities, where demand for self-defense classes has skyrocketed.

Yang, Xu and Charlotte are three 15-year-olds who since last week go to a gym in Beijing to learn to repel an aggression. All of them have engraved in their minds the brutal images of the “Tangshan Video”the northern city where the events that have outraged Chinese society occurred.

“We are shocked. For the first time, we realized that this type of thing happens in our society,” Charlotte told Efe after class, while her two friends nodded when she added that “although this incident It is not a common phenomenon It’s a wake-up call for us.”

hitting without gloves

The phones have not stopped ringing at the Jiu Fu boxing center since the video of the attack was released, for which there are already almost a dozen detainees and at least one police commander expelled.

Liu Hongdou, an instructor, indicates that two or three days after the video went viral had to hang the “complete” sign. The networks have made young people aware of something that “is not new, it has always been there,” she clarifies.

On the tatami, he shows his seven students how to get out of danger in different scenarios, such as in a taxi, if the attacker drags them on the ground, how to run to escape an aggressor, how to hook from a lower position “because they like a lot of grabbing the victim by the neck” and even what to do in the event of a fire in a crowded place.

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The girls learn to punch without gloves because “in real life situations they’re not going to wear them,” she says.

“I grew up in Hubei, where street violence is common and there are groups of people fighting with knives everywhere. My safety awareness was cultivated there. But in Beijing I found that girls are not safety aware. It is easy for them to argue and be put in a very dangerous situationLiu points out.

a family affair

As the teacher explains, scenes like the one that has unleashed this fever for self-defense are not common in Chinese megalopolises, where sexist violence continues to occur behind closed doors and is still considered a family affair.

China passed a Domestic Violence Law in 2016, but the central government allows regions their own interpretation.

Violence and abuse against women were already on the table before Tangshan video as a result of another video that denounced the case of a woman who was sold in 1998 and remained chained years. The matter was echoed even in the meeting of the Chinese Legislative last March.

And in December, the China Legal Daily advanced the draft of a reform to redefine cases of discrimination and violence against women that included sexual harassment and the concept of “brainwashing”, targeting “female moral schools” that have proliferated in the last 20 years in China and that teach young women to behave in a submissive way before men.

But these days it is clear that Chinese women, especially younger ones, are not willing to turn the other cheek.

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Yonina Chan, instructor of another specialized chain, also confirms the increase in demand for self-defense classes for women and the proliferation of seminars on the subject in Beijing.

“We started getting an unusual number of calls, and then we saw the Tangshan thing. It was hard for a lot of people to watch and the reaction on the internet was very quick and emotional,” he says.

Chan considers that the number of sexist attacks reported barely reflects the real figure because most of them take place in the domestic environment, “they don’t appear in the media and they don’t even reach the ears of the authorities.”

as little damage as possible

The instructors agree on two messages: the injustice of blaming the victims and, in situations of risk, the need to stay calm to get out unscathed.

“Beyond physical techniques, it is important to look for a class that teaches self-defense in a comprehensive way: the entire timeline of an attack must be covered, especially to be able to react in time, anticipate it to leaveChan underlines.

He also insists that “self-defense consists of getting out of a risky situation suffering as little damage as possible. In self-defense you not only learn physical skills, but also the mental ability to avoid the risky situation.”

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Charlotte and her friends sum it up this way: “The way to protect flowers is not to stop them from blooming.”

The violence against women and girls it is a serious violation of human rights and the right of women to live without violence is recognized in international agreements. Globally, only 40 percent of women seek help after suffering violence, forcing institutions to promote prevention and help policies.

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