Public praise for rare show of emotion by police in China after elderly man attacked

Cleaner had asked restaurant owner’s daughter-in-law to stop throwing rubbish onto the street

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 2:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 4:38pm

A rare sternly worded police statement earned widespread public approval over the weekend after officers in eastern China condemned a violent attack on an elderly street cleaner.

Police in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province, broke their protocol of writing announcements in a rigid, non-emotional style, in a harsh statement issued on Saturday.

“Today we issue a reproach. Anyone who bullies the most vulnerable groups in society – for example an elderly man in his 60s – should be spat upon by society,” the statement said.

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“To the man surnamed Yang, we want to tell you that we as the police bear not only legal responsibility but also social and moral obligations to society. Of course, we will not release your full name, but do not for a moment think that you can get away with doing whatever you want … the reputation of a local barbecue shop may well be ruined at your hands.”

The statement came a day after Yang, the son of a local barbecued-meat restaurant owner, was placed under a 15-day detention for repeatedly kicking and slapping a 66-year-old street cleaner, People’s Daily reported on Sunday.

The cleaner, Chen Xingquan, was viciously attacked after he asked Yang’s wife, who worked in the restaurant, to stop throwing rubbish onto the street on Friday, police said.

A video clip widely circulated online showed Chen forced to take several steps back as he was repeatedly kicked by Yang and slapped in the face.

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The attack against Chen ended only after police arrived. The elderly man was taken to hospital, where doctors diagnosed him as suffering from mild concussion.

Internet users, while condemning the violence against Chen, overwhelmingly praised the police for showing their “humane” side, adding that it improved their perception of the authorities, the report said.

“This police statement is great; the police deserve praise,” one internet user wrote.

“Police officers are humans too and they responded to the incident in the way a normal human being would respond. I think what the police have done is quite right,” said another.

Yet another wrote: “Police certainly dealt swiftly with the incident, but I think they were too lenient in punishing the attacker.”