[pro-player width=’530′ height=’350′ type=’video’]http://www.chinahush.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/cloth-shoes.flv[/pro-player]
This video is 3:45 long, looks like happened in a corner of a school building. A female student wearing a yellow top is standing there cornered by many other students (mostly female). Because she was wearing black cloth shoes, netizens called her “Cloth Shoes MM” or “Cloth Shoes Girl” (布鞋妹妹).
In the beginning of the video you can hear people shouting “start, hurry”. With the urging voices, five to six female students started to push around “Cloth Shoes Girl”. Some kicked her behind, some punched her back and some poked her with a stick. Because some student did not hit very hard, they got laughed at “are you scratching an itch?” “Cloth Shoes Girl” did not say a word, being pushed back and forth while aggressors laughed.
After a minute into the video, someone said “if you didn’t take it, then kneel here and swear!” “Cloth Shoe Girl” said with a low voice “I didn’t take it”. Then she raised her right hand ready to swear.
Someone shouted viciously “Kneel!” and also started counting “5, 4, 3 …” when they finished counting, “Cloth Shoe Girl” still did not kneel. Someone then shouted “hurry and just beat her up!” One girl walked up to “Cloth Shoe Girl” and slapped her in the face. “Cloth Shoe Girl’s” face turned red. After awhile of pushing, shoving and hitting one student shouted “hurry, class is starting.”
During the entire video, someone would walk up to her from time to time and kicked her into the corner. “Cloth Shoes Girl” was just standing there with teary eyes. At the end of the video, someone ordered “Cloth Shoes Girl” smile at the camera. The “Cloth Shoes Girl” did not respond so one student came up to her and pinched her face pulling it to one side to make a smiley face. Video ended in more laughter sound.
On August 10th someone posted this video on a website’s World of War Craft forum caused netizens’ anger and criticism. In this post wrote “Innocent eyes, not knowing what to do with her hands, red faced and with tears in her round eyes, this girl never kneeled down. How do you feel about it? Are you sorry? What if she is your sister, if her parents saw this, how will they feel about it?”
Soon many people started the human flesh search on “Cloth Shoes Girl” and the aggressors. From the accent used in the video and the location, netizens located the target to be Xinzhen Longhu First High School. Netizen “夜ZOX” said “On August 11th, one student from this school went to school and took a picture of one school build’s corner. In the picture, the staircase, the mirror on the wall and the color of the wall are identical with the video.” Another student even posted “Cloth Shoes Girl” and the other 6 aggressors’ names online.
Yesterday 8:30 pm, reporter contacted the school. School principle admits this incident really happened in their school. But it happened in June, these girls in the video lives in the same dorm, one of the student’s clothes were missing, they suspected “Cloth Shoes Girl” stealing it so they cornered her and integrated her.
After the school found out about this incident and taking into consideration of girl’s self-esteem, they did not deal with this publicly. The aggressors were criticized and asked them to apologize to the victim, and she forgave them. Later the students’ lost clothes were found also, it was a misunderstanding after all.
Key: So why was this video spreading so quickly and got so many attentions of the netizens? Here is my take on it. There is significance on the cloth shoes. Cloth shoes are to be viewed as unattractive, unfashionable among the new generations; especially people live in the city. Cloth Shoes existed in the older days of China as far back as the dynasty era. The common conceptions is whoever still wears these especially the black ones, they must be farmers or peasants. They must be poor. You will almost never find anyone wearing these in the Chinese major cities, well of course except the migrant workers. As China is being modernized there is an increasing gap between the rich and poor, between the cities and country side. People from the cities look down, bully and disrespecting people from the country side is a hot issue and often being discussed on the internet. Because of the black Cloth Shoes the girl was wearing in the video, netizens took the incident as a country-side student being bullied by city student. It just shows how sensitive Chinese people are towards this issue.