Chinese man faces no charges after attempted girlfriend abduction caught on camera

Society & Culture

A man was caught on camera trying to push his ex-girlfriend into a car in front of several eye-witnesses, but the police declined to press charges after he promised not to harass her again.


Despite all the promises to do better, law enforcement authorities in China still systematically fail to properly investigate cases of violence against women and hold prepeturators accountable for their behavior. Here is another frightening example: A young man was caught on camera forcing his ex-girlfriend into a vehicle in an attempted abduction. But instead of making an arrest and creating a safety plan for the victim, police officers responsible for the case let the offender walk away just because he said he wouldn’t hurt the woman again, a promise that carries no legal weight.

Outrage was brewing over the weekend when a disturbing video surfaced of a man pulling up a car in the middle of the street in Qinzhou, Guangxi province, grabbing the woman and dragging her into the vehicle. The two-minute-long footage, which can be seen here, shows the woman beckoning passersby to help her while trying to break free. 

As the violent scene unfolded, a few people walked by  — but fortunately a Good Samaritan stepped in, and his intervention attracted a crowd of concerned onlookers and allowed the woman to escape. The attacker then drove away. 

Chinese man faces no charges after attempted girlfriend abduction caught on cameraAfter footage of the incident garnered attention online, sparking calls to reveal the offender’s identity, the man responded to the outrage on social media in a video posted to Douyin on July 9. “I’m sorry that my relationship problems have caused a bad influence,” he said, without directly apologizing to the victim. 

The man’s words were accompanied by a caption saying that his violence was somewhat justifiable because of “reasons known to most men.” “Sometimes you have to listen to the other side of the story,” it reads, implying that it was the ex-girlfriend’s cheating that drove the offender over the edge. 

In response, the woman denied the accusations of infidelity, saying that she had endured regular beatings at the hands of her ex-boyfriend before she broke up with him on July 2. Since then, she said the man had used a number of different methods to harass her, resulting in the physical altercation last Friday. 

“I’m extremely thankful for the strangers who rescued me. Without your help, I would probably have been taken to an isolated location and beaten up,” the woman wrote. She added that in the aftermath of the incident, the pair were called into a local police station, where police officers asked the offender to write a letter promising not to harass her again.

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While the woman said that she hoped the attention on her experience would “die off gradually” and she would be able to move on from this, many internet users argued that the police shouldn’t have simply dismissed the case even if the victim wanted it. Some speculated that the ex-girlfriend agreed to stop pursuing formal charges in fear of further assault, saying that in cases like this, it’s the police’s responsibility to arrange security measures for women at risk and help them nativiage the legal processes of getting out of an abusive situation. 

“I can’t stop imagining what could have happened to that woman if no one came to her assistance. Attempted abduction is a serious offense and I can’t believe that the man was let go without facing any form of punishment,” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese), while another one remarked (in Chinese), “Can we stop framing intimate partner violence as a mistake a man can just get away with? It’s time to treat harassment as a precursor to fatal violence!” 

In China, intimate partner violence is traditionally viewed as a private matter, tinged with shame and stigma. While public awareness of the issue has in the past few years increased through media attention and social media activism, there’s still a lack of urgency and seriousness in police response to reports of gender-based violence against women. This pattern of trivializing complaints about domestic abuse has from time to time resulted in tragic cases, such as the gruesome killing of Lhamo 拉姆, who suffered years of intimate partner violence before her ex-husband lit her on fire last year.