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Gender-Based Violence: A Year in the News

After the Tangshan restaurant attack, we look at how discussions about gender permeated news of violent acts in the past year

In the early hours of June 10, a group of men launched a brutal attack on several women having dinner at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan, Hebei province. The incident provoked public uproar after surveillance footage of the incident spread online, which showed one of the women rejecting sexual advances from the man, who reacted by beating her, and was soon joined by eight other men in his group in an all-out attack on her and three other women who intervened.

This brutal assault inspired many discussions about the extent of gender-based violence and sexual harassment in Chinese society, though others linked the attack to organized crime and thuggery. Several high-profile cases involving rape, domestic abuse, and human trafficking in recent years have highlighted growing public awareness of the role of gender in violence and crime. China has strengthened laws on sexual assault, domestic abuse, and gender-based violence in recent years: It implemented a law against domestic violence in 2016, and updated its Civil Code in 2021, defining “sexual harassment” in law for the first time.

Nevertheless, there is still stigma attached to reporting these issues to relevant authorities. In a UN study from 2013 on “Gender Violence and Masculinity in China,” around half of both men and women surveyed did not know there were laws in China against violence against women, while 25 percent of men and 23 percent of women felt the existing laws were too harsh for the perpetrator.

The following infographics show milestone incidents from the last two years that stirred public discussions on gender-based violence, as well as relevant statistics and government responses to these incidents:

An infographic about gender-based violence in China (Nicoco Chan)

(Nicoco Chan)

Contributions from Siyi Chu (褚司怡), Hatty Liu, Alex Colville, Yang Tingting (杨婷婷), and Anita He (贺文文)

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Nicoco Chan is the multimedia editor of TWOC.


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Sam Davies is the deputy managing editor at The World of Chinese. He writes mainly about society, sport, and culture, with his pieces touching on diverse topics from the future of China’s ski industry to efforts to prevent juvenile crime.

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