video has gone viral on Chinese social media showing a brutal bit of “vigilante justice.”
The short clip shows an old man being beaten on the ground by a younger man as other people stand around, watch, and film. After a few seconds, another man in a hat runs in to join the beating, kicking the old man on the ground.
The incident occurred in Guangxi’s Xincheng county. On Sunday, local police released a statement explaining that the man being beaten in the video was a 61-year-old man, surnamed Fan, who had been caught having sex with a 16-year-old girl and giving her money.
After learning the details, some Chinese netizens declared that Fan “deserved” the beating while many others instead criticized the vigilantes, calling the villagers “backward” and “barbaric.” The police statement does not accuse Fan of having raped the teen. China has one of the lowest ages of consent in the world, at 14 years old.
“16 years old, voluntary, then there’s nothing unlawful, but beatings like these are common in the villages,” reads one popular comment.