On June 14, a tweet with two photos claimed the images show the victim of the recent brutal attack in Tangshan that made headlines internationally. One image features a headshot of a woman; the other shows a badly-injured person on a stretcher.
The post in Chinese said the girl in the picture is a 19-year-old woman who has just finished the college entrance exam and went out to dine with friends to celebrate before she was assaulted violently. The tweet has over 350 likes and 300 retweets.
Two other tweets (1, 2) with similar claims have nearly 2,300 likes and over 700 retweets altogether. A post on Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) using the same girl’s picture with a similar claim has 5,300 likes at the time of writing. A similar Facebook post claims the girl was beaten the worst among the four victims and is dead.
These claims are all false, however.
The headshot does not belong to a victim of the Tangshan incident. Through reverse image search, Annie Lab found the person is a blogger named Huang Xiaoxiao (黄晓晓).
She herself clarified in a post on Xiaohongshu, a photo-sharing social media platform in China, that her picture was taken out of context and that she is not a victim of the attack in Tangshan.
The image used in the tweet was originally posted on the blogger’s Xiaohongshu account in 2019. It is accompanied by seven other pictures of herself, featuring her short haircut.
Annie Lab reached out to Huang and she said she is 26 years old and living in Zhejiang, a city located more than 1,000 kilometers south of Tangshan. The blogger has been actively publishing her images since the incident was reported.
Meanwhile, Annie Lab was unable to verify the identity of the badly-injured person in the second photo in the tweet.
The Tangshan incident took place on June 10. Nine men reportedly assaulted four women in a barbecue restaurant in the city located in the northern Hebei Province. The attack allegedly happened after one of the women resisted sexual advances from one of the men.
A statement released on the Weibo page of the Hebei Police Department’s spokesperson on June 21 says the four victims are surnamed Wang, Liu, Yuan, and Li. They are aged 31, 29, 24 and 29 respectively, according to the official account.
No one is said to be aged 19, as opposed to the claim made in the tweet.
While all four victims sought medical attention following the incident, the statement said, Yuan and Li sustained light injuries and were not required to stay in the hospital. The other two victims, Wang and Liu, were recovering from their injuries.