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October 27, 2009

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Netizens protest student beating

THE "human flesh" Internet search engine - an informal band of Netizens that identifies heroes and culprits in acts of violence and corruption caught on camera - has tracked down a Shanghai student allegedly responsible for severely beating another youngster.

The victim suffered a broken nose and bruises, and a graphic video of the beating posted on the Internet caused widespread outrage and touched off the search.

Some 300 people apparently inspired by the online controversy descended on the school that the alleged attacker attends to protest the girl's actions.

The victim has not been identified, and the site of the attack remained unknown yesterday.

The controversy began last Friday when the inflammatory five-minute-long video was uploaded onto several Internet Websites. It showed one girl kicking, slapping and pulling the hair of another girl. The victim did not resist or say anything. About 10 young people stood by watching.

A male student tried to stop the attack but was threatened and pulled away by others.

It wasn't long after the "human flesh" cyber squad got onto the chase that the attacker was identified as a 17-year-old student at Nanhu Vocational School's No. 2 branch in Shanghai's Hongkou District.

School officials confirmed the girl was one of their students and said they had launched an investigation.

"We still need to collect more information before deciding on any punishment," said a teacher surnamed Shen who was involved in the investigation.

Nanhu is contacting another school, the Shanghai Business and Tourism School, to cooperate with its investigation, because the victim is believed to be a student there. It was not clear yesterday why authorities drew that conclusion or how they knew details about her injuries. It was also unlcear whether police had been called in.

"It's a shame for the school and the educational system in Shanghai. The principal needs to apologize," said a visitor to, one of the city's most popular cyber communities.

KDS users posted the alleged assailant's personal information, including her home address and even her father's cell phone number, and demanded an apology.

The outrage in the virtual world then spilled over into the real world.

About 300 people gathered at the school's front gate at about 2pm yesterday. The crowd left about two hours later after representatives talked with the principal.


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