Chinese police say victims of Tangshan restaurant attack are recovering from injuries

Hong Kong

After days of mounting public pressure, Chinese police have finally released an update on the investigation Brutal attack on a restaurant in Tangshan But the statement did little to quell public anger or address the victims’ concerns.

The assault, which took place in the early hours of the morning of June 10, saw several women being repeatedly kicked and punched by a group of men. And shock waves were sent across China after surveillance footage of the accident was leaked to the Internet.

A day after the attack, Tangshan police released a statement saying that two women had been taken to hospital with “non-life-threatening injuries” and were in a “stable condition.” No other information has been provided. The victims and their friends and families also remained silent.

On Tuesday, 11 days after the assault, and 10 days after the initial statement, the Public Security Administration of Hebei Province, where Tangshan is located, issued a second, longer statement, saying that two women, aged 31 and 29, had been hospitalized in the ward. year for treatment and their conditions improved.” She added that the other two victims, aged 24 and 29, did not require hospital treatment.

According to the forensic report cited by the police, the two women in the hospital suffered “minor second-degree injuries”, while the other two sustained “minor injuries”.

Information black hole for 10 days It has led to repeated allegations Leaked surveillance video captured only part of the attack, and off-camera violence continued into a nearby alley — allegations CNN cannot independently verify.

Apparently trying to refute such rumors, Hebei police said in a statement on Tuesday that the suspects fled the scene at 2.47 a.m. — seven minutes after the attack began; At 2.55 am, the four victims were taken to hospital by ambulance. Local police officers arrived at the restaurant at 3.09 a.m., about half an hour after receiving a call from the public at the start of the attack, according to the statement.

But the statement was met with skepticism online, with many criticizing the authorities’ handling of the case. a Related hashtag On Weibo, it was viewed 450 million times in a matter of hours.

“So there are no photos or videos. Journalists are not allowed to interview (victims), and only you can publish information,” said one user on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform in China, citing no access to journalists.

“A city without credibility – dare we trust the injury report? How reliable is this police statement?” added the user.

In the aftermath of the attack, Chinese authorities sought to stifle discussions of gender-based violence and shift the focus to local gang violence.

State media reports have largely focused on the police’s swift action in arresting suspects, and the two-week “thunderstorm” campaign announced by Tangshan authorities to crack down on organized crime. Photos and videos of police officers – some armed with guns – standing behind customers at outdoor barbecue restaurants, similar to the one where the incident occurred, have flooded social media.

In a statement on Tuesday, police said four of the suspects traveled to Tangshan from eastern Jiangsu province three days before the attack to conspire with the other five “to carry out illegal activities on the Internet and money laundering.” The statement added that many of them have criminal records for crimes ranging from unlawful detention to intentional harm to others.

The police authorities also launched an internal investigation to find out whether the local police station failed to respond in a timely manner, and whether it had violated any laws and regulations when applying the law. The statement stated that the deputy head of the local police station has been suspended from work.