Internet celebrity condemned for physically assaulting pregnant woman

Pregnant Yang (L) and internet celebrity Chen (R) Photo: Weibo

A female Internet celebrity has become the target of public anger after she and her mother were accused of physically assaulting a pregnant woman on the street over a pet dog.

According to a statement released by the Binjiang police in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, on Tuesday, they received a report at around 8 pm on Friday about a fight in a residential community.

After rushing to the scene, they found that a woman, surnamed Chen, and her mother, surnamed Shi, had got into a physical altercation with a pregnant woman, surnamed Yang, and her husband after a quarrel over a pet dog.

Yang had not suffered any visible physical injuries but had felt unwell and had difficulty breathing because of all the stress, the police said. She was immediately taken to a local hospital where her condition is being monitored.

Yang, who is 32 weeks pregnant, on Sunday took to Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, to describe the incident, claiming that Chen's pet dog, which had not been on a leash at the time, suddenly ran toward her when she was walking with her husband.

Alarmed, her husband kicked the dog away to prevent it from "attacking" her, according to the post.

Angered by the attack on her pet, Chen then assaulted both Yang and her husband. Instead of attempting to stop her daughter, Shi joined in, the post added.

The two women grabbed her hair and pushed and hit her while cursing her baby, the post said.

Security guards and neighbors broke up the fight and called the police.

Yang's post now has over 130,000 shares and 100,000 comments.

According to images of the medical records Yang posted online, doctors had told her she was at high risk of a miscarriage.

Shi has been detained for assaulting a police officer, which amounts to impeding law enforcement, as they tried to resolve the dispute, the police said.

The police also said that they have "basically" ascertained that Chen intentionally injured Yang, however, they will wait for the results of her physical checkup before proceeding further.

The case drew widespread criticism online and quickly became a top trending topic on Weibo.

Many media outlets and netizens condemned the behavior of Chen, also known as Saya on Weibo, who has over 3.3 million followers.

In an Internet article published on its WeChat official account platform on Tuesday, The Beijing News said that Chen's action has crossed the red line set by the society, and that she should be banned from appearing in public in the future.

Even the People's Daily, a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), on the same day published a short commentary on its official Weibo account, saying that all people are equal before the law.

"The more followers an Internet celebrity has, the more disciplined he or she should be. We should stand for the justice of the law and deter those who attempt to break the law," it added.

Chen has not yet responded to the allegations and has not created a fashion post on her Weibo account since Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, she has blocked comments on all of her old posts.

"I fail to figure out what or who gave Chen the courage to assault a pregnant woman. Her so-called beautiful appearance? Or her 3 million followers on Weibo? I hope the law can give her a lesson on this issue," a Weibo user nicknamed Gaxi said.

Several high-profile Chinese Internet celebrities have been punished by the authorities over the past few months for making some controversial claims.

Relationship expert Ayawawa, who has over 3 million followers on Weibo, was censored in May after asking young women in her class to imagine themselves as comfort women during World War II to explain why women have gender advantages over men.

Comfort women are women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories before and during World War II. This is an extremely sensitive topic in China, and those suspected of mocking the group might find them in trouble sooner or later.

Chen Yifa, a popular livestreamer of streaming platform Huya Live, last month was slammed by state media after making jokes about Nanjing Massacre in which over 300,000 people were killed by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

She was then banned from livestreaming by the platform and has disappeared from the public view since then.

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