The Economist pointed out in a report that an unjustified attack on numerous ladies by intoxicated thugs revealed something striking: Chinese officials are more intimidated by feminists than by violent gangsters.
Photo Insert: The assault was captured on security cameras at a late-night barbecue joint in the northern city of Tangshan.
After the assault was captured on security cameras at a late-night barbecue joint in the northern city of Tangshan and garnered billions of views online, Communist Party leaders couldn't avoid addressing widespread public outrage.
Faced with this challenge to China's self-image as a peaceful, low-crime society, officials, state media, China's largest social media platform, and even a university dean have all come out in opposition to the idea that China has a problem with sex-based violence.
Instead, Beijing has emphasized the issue of organized crime. At first, news outlets refused to report the assault as an example of the harassment that Chinese women face all too frequently, whether from strangers, colleagues, lecherous bosses, or top Party officials.
The attack was described as a "scuffle" by Beijing Toutiao, a news outlet with 27 million followers, after men failed to "strike up a conversation" with female diners in the early hours of June 10.
Those bland words did not match images of women being clubbed with bottles and chairs, dragged outside, and kicked in the head by a group of men, sending two of the victims to the intensive care unit.
Worse, China only pays lip service to women's complaints about workplace harassment and fails to honor Chairman Mao Zedong's call for equality and protection for women "who hold half the sky." Under President Xi Jinping, feminism has become a "foreign plot," even a crime against the state.