Video footage appearing to show a man in northern China beating his wife to death on a city street went viral on Chinese social media on Sunday.
The footage has sparked outrage online over the brutality depicted in the deadly beating, and also for capturing onlookers as they stand by without attempting to intervene and help the woman.
The incident reportedly occurred on October 31 in the city of Shuozhou in Shanxi province according to domestic news outlets, which first reported on the attack on Sunday. Footage of the attack has been shared millions of times online.
“[Chinese] state media said the violence erupted after the married couple accidentally hit a vehicle while driving an electric scooter in Shuozhou city. Police said in a statement the woman was killed on Saturday morning,” Reuters reported.
“The suspect is in the custody of public security organs, and the case is being fully investigated,” local police said.
Warning: Graphic Images
Shanxi, yesterday – at least 4 people stand around as this man beats his wife. Nobody steps in to stop this 'marital conflict.' This is how it starts, but it ends up with the woman being stabbed & killed by her husband.
Many people looked on and filmed, yet nobody stopped him. pic.twitter.com/mzYRfJ6e2l
— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) November 1, 2020
Video footage of the attack appears to show “cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, and children” witnessing the attack.
According to India’s WION news, the attack occurred after the couple became involved in an alleged hit-and-run incident.
A man “was driving with his wife [when he] hit another vehicle. The spouse supposedly confined her husband who attempted to run. However, this act actually outraged her husband,” WION reported on Monday.
Social media posts about the incident have drawn tens of thousands of comments, “with most criticizing the inaction of the bystanders and the lax attitude towards domestic violence in some sectors of Chinese society,” according to Reuters.
“He’s not holding a machine gun, why did no one step forward to control him?” a commenter asked in a widely shared response.
“Social media users pointed out that there is a widely held perception in China that someone who steps in to help could be liable for hospital costs, or ensnared in scams, discouraging people from intervening,” Reuters noted. Attempting to address the issue, China passed a Good Samaritan law in 2017 “removing civil liability for those involved in helping victims of violence or accidents.”
Women’s rights activists say China suffers from high levels of domestic violence and have advocated for stricter legislation in the country surrounding the crime for years. China passed its first domestic violence law in 2015, but critics say it is poorly enforced.
A November 2016 survey by the state-run All-China Women’s Federation found that 30 percent of married Chinese women had experienced some form of domestic violence.