A Chinese court has charged 28 people for allegedly being involved in the brutal assault on four women at a restaurant in northeast China two months ago.
In the CCTV footage that made international headlines, a group of men were caught on camera violently beating four women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan on June 10. A woman can be seen being dragged by her hair, hit with bottles and repeatedly kicked in the head.
The incident sparked nationwide outrage and ignited a debate about violence against women in China, with many demanding harsh punishments for the assailants and accountability from the police who failed to respond in time.
On Monday, authorities from the Hebei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement that 28 people had been prosecuted. The accused allegedly had been committing crimes since 2012, including robbery, operating illegal casinos, intentional injury and illegal detention of others.
The statement did not specify the charges related to the attack at the barbecue restaurant in June. Authorities also noted that rumors of sexual assault or other forms of violence associated with the attack were “false information.”
In a separate investigation, authorities said they are investigating 15 officials for corruption involving “evil organizations” that are associated with the attackers. Eight civil servants, including the head of a district police station in Tangshan, were detained on suspicion of accepting bribes and offering protection to the defendants.
Two of the women who were attacked were previously sent to a hospital, where they remained until July 1, while the other two victims sustained minor injuries, according to the authorities.
One of the victims, whose identity was concealed, appeared on an interview segment with Chinese state media broadcaster CCTV, where she recounted the events on the night of the brutal beating.
“We were beaten by several men. After the beating, they told us not to call the police or to ask anyone for help, or they would kill us. They then ran away,” she reportedly said.
Despite widespread censorship, discussion of gender-based violence and concerns regarding women’s safety in mainland China has been in the public spotlight.
Netizens continue to call for more action toward gender equality and stricter laws and sentences for assailants.