The northern Chinese city of Tangshan has been stripped of a national honorary title as fallout continues from the assault of four women in a restaurant earlier this month.
The civilization bureau of the central committee of the Communist Party of China announced on Wednesday that it had decided to remove Tangshan from the list of “national civilized cities,” the highest recognition for a Chinese city.
“The honor of a civilized city belongs to all citizens and cannot be defamed or desecrated,” said China City News, a media outlet of the official People’s Daily. “Faced with so many problems, Tangshan clearly did not show the warmth of a [civilised] city.”
The attack on four diners by a group of men on June 10 shocked the nation and sparked a broader conversation among Chinese online about violence against women. Since then, nine men have been arrested for the assault, and at least five local police officers have been investigated in the last 24 hours in connection with the incident.
According to Chinese media, Tangshan has been honored with the title of “civilized city” four times in a row, most recently awarded in 2020. The title was established in 2005 and is awarded once every three years. Nearly half of the country’s 600 cities, counties and towns had received the title by the end of last year.
Cities are judged on the level of their general development, their environment and their attractiveness to outsiders. Qualification is carried out through central government inspections and the title is reviewed once every three years.
The assault has put Tangshan in the national spotlight. In recent days, Chinese media reported that one of the defendants, whose last name is Chen, had previously been involved in other legal cases, including money laundering.
The revelation prompted the city’s local party committee to call for the incident to be “thoroughly investigated to find out which government officials have had interests and relationships with Chen and others.” [suspects]”.