A woman bursts out of a bathroom stall at a bar, seemingly startling several men gathered at the sinks. A man follows, grabs her by the hair, and tries to drag her back in. She grabs onto another man outside the stall. Both are pulled to the ground as the first man forces her back into the stall and slams the door.
She tries again to run out and this time succeeds. Her shirt, which was ripped off during her first escape attempt, remains on the floor as she rushes toward the door, her arms flailing.
The graphic episode captured by closed circuit television camera Saturday at a bar in Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s central Henan province, has sparked outrage on social media renewing anger over violence against women in a country where calls for gender equality are often suppressed by the ruling Communist Party.
A hashtag referencing the incident that read “A woman was dragged into a stall by a man in a bar bathroom” was viewed more than 380 million times Wednesday alone.
NBC News was unable to independently verify the footage, and multiple calls seeking comment from the bar, identified in local media as Max Club, went unanswered.
However, the Zhongmu county public security bureau said in a statement Wednesday that it had arrested a 27-year-old man with the last name of Li from the nearby city of Kaifeng in relation to the incident.
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“Public security authorities have filed a case against him and enforced mandatory criminal measures in accordance with the law. The case is being further processed,” the statement said.
The statement did not say why he was detained but The Paper, a Shanghai-based news outlet, reported that he was being held on suspicion of indecent assault for attempting to urinate in front of the woman.
The incident has drawn fresh attention to the problem of gender-based violence in China, with women across the country expressing concerns about their own safety on social media.
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“As a woman, I may not dare go out in the dark,” one user on Weibo, a popular microblogging site, wrote Wednesday.
Police determined that they were not a couple, according to the media outlet Chinanews.com.
Many felt that detail was irrelevant.
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“Relationship, marriage, do these entitle one to a get-out-of-jail-free card?” one Weibo user wrote.
It is the second time in the space of a month that public display of violence against women has made headlines in China.
A group of men sparked outrage when they were captured on video beating four women outside a restaurant in the northeastern city of Tangshan last month. Two of the women were hospitalized.
Despite the outcry over the latest case, some on social media said the response to the most recent case was better than it had been to the past incident.
“This is much faster than the Tangshan case. If only all cases were handled at this speed in the future,” one Weibo user wrote Wednesday.