Defenseless, a group of villagers are viciously beaten. Crouched down and trembling with their backs against a wall, men dressed in all black repeatedly strike them with batons and billy clubs. Painful sounds of screams and wailing can be heard, and helpless villagers try to cover their heads in an unsuccessful attempt to shield the harsh blows.
This shocking video went viral online over the weekend in China. The incident, in which the men in black seen in the video are a demolition team, took place in a small village outside of Haikou, Hainan.
Tencent, an online tech and social networking site, reports that before the incident occurred villagers had sold their farmland for development. However, the buildings that were constructed were apparently illegal, causing the need for the government-led demolition crew seen in the video to be sent to tear them down.
Local authorities reacted swiftly once the appalling video was released on the net. They held a press conference Saturday in which they apologized for the gruesome acts and announced that seven demolition crew members have been arrested and the team leader dismissed.
To be honest, I could not watch the video in its entirety – I was too saddened and angered at these sights on my screen. They reminded me of old Nazi footage I have seen in documentaries. It was brutal and frightening.
Many people agreed with my thinking; online users went ballistic upon witnessing the stomach-churning footage, turning to social media to pour out their outrage. They were infuriated (rightfully so) by the contents of the video, calling for equally harsh punishments to be given out to the monstrous crew members.
“The villagers should be allowed to beat them bloody as punishment,” wrote one such user.
“Dismissed? Detained? These men should be executed,” remarked another.
Some took their rage out not only on the men, but also on the Chinese government itself.
One person on Weibo asked, “What kind of country do we live in that something like this could happen? Where were the police?”