I was working from home today. Around 5pm I got on my bike to ride into the city, only to discover a flat tire. Walked outside to have it fixed and saw five or six people standing around the entrance next to mine. They were looking at a young woman lying on the ground, badly injured and almost naked.
Her arms were covered in abrasions, and she had a two-inch gash along the left side of her head. Her face was swollen and looked to have some yellowish bruises. Her lips were too red, as if from blood rather than lipstick.
She rolled slowly back and forth on the pavement, but she said nothing and her eyes were closed. Clearly out of it, though, as her dress or nightie was tangled into a small ball around her chest, leaving her covered only by a bra and stockings.
The crowd grew larger and within ten minutes there were over a hundred people watching. Several were recording the scene on their cell phones, some openly, others surreptitiously. I have no doubt that pictures and will be posted online soon, if they’re not already there. Sadly, these will be relatively easy to find, as the girl appeared to be young and pretty.
The initial whispers were that she had jumped from the third floor, where the window and the screen were both open. I don’t know how “jumped” beat “was pushed out” or “accidentally fell” as the default explanation. The latter two seemed far more likely.
A couple of guys with walkie-talkies appeared to be in charge but did nothing but wait for backup. The backup came — wuye employees, parking attendants, hired security, chengguan, and finally several police officers. Eventually there were about twenty “officials” on the scene. All were men. There was a lot of talking and smoking of cigarettes, but no one moved in to talk to her, see if she was okay, tend to her wounds, or even cover up her body.
I live within a mile of at least two hospitals with emergency rooms, but I stood there close to half an hour before the ambulance arrived. They stood around for five minutes — just trying to be as careful as possible, I assumed — and then lifted her by her arms and legs onto the waist-high stretcher. Didn’t seem like the best technique to use on someone who fell 30 feet head first onto concrete, but hey, they’re the professionals.
It was well after the ambulance left that anyone ventured up to the third floor apartment. The police didn’t seem interested in breaking down the door and instead patiently waited for a door key or perhaps a lock opener to appear. Clearly the needed the help of some special agents — real estate agents, in this case.
Five of the guys from Wo Ai Wo Jia had come over about ten minutes after I arrived. Turns out they were the agents who had rented the place to the tenants just two weeks earlier. No one else in the building knew them. They were zipping back and forth on scooters, calling in for information, and seemed to be getting a lot more done than the police. They had the tenants’ ID photocopies and knew a bit about their background. They also helped to get in touch with the landlord. At one point I counted at least 13 of them on the scene, and who knows how many more plainclothes agents were around.
Eventually the door was opened and word came out that there was at least one person inside. A dozen of the collective security officials went inside. The crowd, which had mostly dispersed, grew again. At one point someone carried four wooden stakes inside, then later walked outside with only one of them. About half an hour later a young lady walked out with a police officer. She was walking on her own and not handcuffed, but she was barefoot.
By this time my bike was fixed, and I couldn’t hang around any longer. There were still rumors that someone else was inside, either either hiding in the room or possibly up on the roof.
Going to go watch the Olympics. It will be nice to see Chinese people working together to achieve a meaningful goal instead of the disgusting, depressing, and all too familiar scene I just witnessed.