Man falls down escalator… over and over, because the escalator is going up - SupChina

Man falls down escalator… over and over, because the escalator is going up

Some days, we are all this man falling down an escalator, over and over, impotent against the forces, such as gravity, that conspire to hold us down, such as at the bottom of an escalator.

This video, taken off a surveillance camera in China, was posted on Sohu on January 24. There’s no real information in the accompanying text other than a description of what’s on screen.

The original video was apparently a mobile upload of a computer screen. From the conversation, we can make out that this happened near an exit at a station (somewhere with a platform, so maybe a subway). At the start, two voices off-camera are heard discussing what they’re seeing. They note that the man isn’t holding the handrail and might be preoccupied with a cell phone, which causes the initial tumble.

As the man in the video is rolling head over heels, a woman walks into the room and is given directions to go clean up the escalator at “Exit B.”

“There’s water?” she asks.

“Blood,” is the reply — though in certain Chinese accents, such as this one, water and blood sound nearly indistinguishable.

“There’s water in the stairs?” she repeats.

“Stairs, stairs,” the one guy confirms.

The other points at the screen: “This one.”

“I know,” she says. “It’s leaking water?”

“Blood!” the one exclaims. “Can’t you see?”

“Blood!” the other guy also chimes in. “Human blood.”

At this point, the poor man in the video has finally stopped rolling.

“Oh my,” says the woman.

Anyone can stand on an escalator and go up. But let us admire, with all the empathy our small human hearts can muster, the truly noble task of falling down. Over and over.

I believe this was one of Shelley’s enduring lessons, as well as that of more than a few Daoists — no matter how you try, you’ll end up where you started.

We’re with you, man falling down escalator. We’re right there, rolling on the floor, definitely not laughing.

Anthony Tao

Anthony is the managing editor of SupChina. Follow him @anthonytao


  1. Ricardo Reply

    Call me a square, but I find the tone and content of this the article disturbing. The man on the escalator may have been seriously injured and possibly passed out by the end of his ordeal, which would explain why he couldn’t get up. Yet, the author sees in this an occasion for some light-hearted and juvenile musings about Shelley, the Daoists and gravity and then tags it as ‘#Funny’.

    The people watching the video come off as callous for doing nothing to help. But, at least, unilke the author, they are not laughing.

    I thought the video that accompanied the article ‘Men Beat Restaurant Owner In China Over Her ‘Slow Service’’ equally gratuitous. The author was happy to inform us that she was kicked in the face, but did nothing to place the story in any kind of meaningful context.

    Is that kind of violence (against women) common in the region? Were all the perpetrators arrested? What will be the likely outcome of the trial? The author obviously doesn’t know or care.

    1. Anthony TaoAnthony Tao Post author Reply

      Your comment is registered and I don’t at all disregard it. A couple things though: the people watching the video are almost certainly not watching a live feed, and they seemed sufficiently concerned (judging by their tones of voice). And you’re right, I did laugh. I suppose I’m going to hell.

      As for the other video in question

      The woman wrote afterwards on her Sina Weibo that the men were upset she was “slow to serve” them. Her injuries were not serious, but she said the men caused her “far more mental damage than physical harm.”

      One of the men fled the scene, but the other two were arrested two days later. Changchun police identified them as Wang Yongcheng 王永成, 32, and Yang Gang 杨刚, 25, on its official Weibo account.

  2. Ricardo Reply

    I read the article about the 26 year-old female restaurant owner to the end when it was first published and so there is no need to quote parts of it again. My questions still stand (‘Were all the perpetrators arrested?’ i.e. Was the third assailant eventually caught?)

    You are probably right that the video is not a live feed and, to the credit of the viewers, they take the situation seriously. I suppose one has little control over what one finds privately amusing, but one does have control over whether to broadcast one’s poor taste and smugness to the wider world.

    1. Anthony TaoAnthony Tao Post author Reply

      I hear ya. My block-quoting wasn’t for your sake though, since we’re out in the public. Also, I’m not sure we have the same notion of what the “wider world” looks like.

      In any case, an update to the old post IS overdue, and I’m happy to oblige. Would’ve preferred that you asked nicely, but I understand … for what it’s worth, the comment thread on the shop owner’s Jan 30 Weibo post was much less forgiving:

      UPDATE: All three assailants were captured by police.

      On January 30, the shop owner posted to her Sina Weibo that she has recovered “pretty well” despite the difficult circumstances of the recent days. As coordinated by the local police department, her family met with the assailants’ family, which might seem weird, but never forget that China’s is a guanxi (interpersonal) society. She was offered an apology, which she said seemed sincere, and partial compensation for loss and damages; when pressed in the comments to specify how much, she snapped back: “If I got a lot, should I feel wrong? If I got nothing, what could you do to them? Keep banging our heads? Should I stop living my life? Or should I be taking them down with me? Should we all forget about the new year? Just stop, stop discussing unimportant things.”

      Also in the comments section — which, in general, has not been kind to her, as internet assholes continue doing their thing (the short of it, they’re bloodthirsty, uncompromising, and sexist) — she says she deleted her original post because “the thing’s already done, I don’t want my misfortune to continue affecting everyone, every time I see it, it feels like my heart rips a little. I also don’t want to ruin their lives. I hope they can turn over a new leaf.”

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