A viral video posted on Thursday in China showing a man hitting a woman, forcibly stuffing her into the trunk of his car and driving off has prompted a response from police in Tianjin and Hebei.

The man and the woman were reportedly a married couple who had an argument in a gas station over infidelity. Several bystanders witnessed the fight, then watched as the man drove off with the woman in his trunk.

On Thursday evening, a verified Weibo user representing Hebei’s public security bureau posted a message stating that the woman had been found. “The woman wasn’t visibly injured, and has declined to file a police report, saying she hopes to live well with her husband,” the official posted.

Online users were outraged, with some demanding that the police take action against the man. Some blamed the bystanders, saying they should have tried to stop him. Others thought the woman should leave him before she gets hurt.

“You think this is just between you two? This has become a public matter. A lot of people think this is a kidnapping… Police can absolutely punish [him] according to the law,” said one commenter.

China’s new domestic violence law came into effect in March – it is the country’s first law specifically outlawing domestic violence.

“Family violence has remained in the shadows for a long time in China, where family conflicts are treated as embarrassing, private matters,” said a report on Xinhua last December.

Around 40 per cent of married women have experienced domestic violence at least once, a representative of UN Women in China told Time Out Shanghai, though the All-China Women’s Federation puts this number at around 25 per cent.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.