‘Evil Man’: GitHub archive of gendered violence in China goes viral on social media

Domestic News

An anonymous person has collected more than 1,800 items on gendered violence in China, writing: "In this corrupt East Asian culture, women’s lives are cheap as flies. If we ignore what’s happening before us, the world will never become better."

Evil Man Github repository violence against women in China
Illustration by Derek Zheng

On November 21, screenshots and links to a GitHub repository called “Evil Man: 中国男人之恶” (zhōngguó nánrén zhī è — The Evils of Chinese Men) were shared to Weibo and soon went viral.

The repository, which shows updates going back 11 months, features news on gendered violence in China, with more than 1,800 entries sorted into 22 categories. The items include intimate partner violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, misogyny from public figures, and more. It also includes links to unjust court judgments since 2015.

The entries are sometimes accompanied by commentary or quotes. The first category of intimate partner violence has the subtitle: “Not like I was hitting anyone else; she’s my wife!” Attached to 75 entries on intrafamilial sexual assault: “Not like I was doing it to anyone else; she’s my daughter!”

Both of the above comments are variations of a quote from Wú Bīng 吴兵, who murdered his mother in 2018 when he was 12 and told his uncle, “Not like I killed anyone else; she’s my mom!”

The case that inspired the first variation was a man from Sichuan who brutally beat his wife in public while drunk, and when confronted by police, responded: “What, hitting my own wife is illegal?” The second variation comes from the case of a father from Guangdong who raped his then-12-year-old daughter, and said: “[She’s] my own kid, I just wanted to fool her around a bit, I couldn’t help it.”

The author of the project is listed as “All Surviving Chinese Women.” The end note reads: “In this corrupt East Asian culture, women’s lives are cheap as flies. If we ignore what’s happening before us, the world will never become better. We cannot stay silent; we will not live blindly.”

Chén Zhézhé 陈折折 was the first to draw attention to the project on social media, but her Weibo post about the repository was deleted after it had accumulated more than a thousand shares. In her post on November 21, she urges people to save the link and the screenshots in case it is censored again.

A user writes in the comments (in Chinese): “When a woman dies, she is erased quickly…The women who have died, been murdered, been brutalized: I do not know how to describe even a sliver of their pain. They are Chinese citizens just as you are. Have they received the justice they deserve?” Another user quotes from the TV series Legion: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them.”

One comment references the phrase “creating gender antagonism,” often used to vilify feminists: “Men killing women doesn’t count as creating gender antagonism, but women daring to speak to truth does?”

The repository has drawn attention as the case of Fāng Yángyáng 方洋洋 inspires rage and grief over the Chinese internet. Fang was a 23-year-old Chinese woman who was abused to death by her husband and in-laws because of her infertility. She died on January 31, 2019, but the original verdict on her case was recently overturned on November 18. A retrial was scheduled for November 27, but was canceled. No new court date has been announced.

It was rumored that Fang may have suffered from mental issues, although her brother has denied the claim, showing a video of Fang on her wedding day as evidence. After her death, her family arranged a ghost marriage between her and a local man who had also recently passed, a traditional practice in parts of rural China. Her ashes were given to her new “husband’s” family, and her family received a fee of “a few thousand RMB.” The decision led to accusations of the family exploiting Fang in her death.

Fang’s case is one of many recent high-profile cases of Chinese women abused or murdered by their husbands or ex-husbands. In September, a Henan woman was kidnapped by her ex-husband and discovered dead 17 days later. In October, a Tibetan woman named Lhamo died from burn-related complications after being set on fire by her ex-husband. In November, a Yunnan woman was thrown from a bridge by her husband after asking for a divorce, sustaining severe injuries as a result. All are dutifully included in the repository. Even as public attention wanes, the repository provides a place where those who wish to can — as described by one Weibo user — “look at their graves.”