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Footage of women attacked in restaurant sparks outrage in China

It has led to an outcry on social media and re-ignited debate about gender violence in China.

The incident began when a man put his hand on a woman's back in a restaurant and she pushed him away.

The man is seen striking her before others drag her outside and continue attacking as she lies on the floor.

The group of men are also seen attacking her dining partners.

Two of the women were admitted to hospital and were in a "stable condition and not in mortal danger", while two others sustained minor injuries, officials said.

Police in Tangshan, in northern Hebei province, said they had arrested nine people on suspicion of violent assault and "provoking trouble".

The attack dominated discussion on Chinese social media on Saturday, taking up the top six places of Weibo's most-discussed topics. State television called for the suspects to be severely punished.

"All of this could happen to me, could happen to any of us," said one commenter in a post liked over 100,000 times.

"How is this sort of thing still happening in 2022?" wrote another. "Please give them criminal sentences, and don't let any of them get away."

A widely shared WeChat post took issue with the initial official framing of the attack as a simple act of violence.

"This happened in a society where violence against women is rampant," the anonymous post said.

"To ignore and suppress the perspective of gender is to deny the violence that people - as women - suffer."