Police in the mainland are reportedly looking into the origins of a viral video that appears to show a group of men harassing four bridesmaids as part of a wedding hazing ritual.
According to the Beijing Times, at least three videos of the incident had been circulating on Chinese social media since Thursday, and went viral over the weekend.
The outlet posted a blurred version of the video onto video-sharing site Miaopai, which shows the men pulling on the legs of one of the bridesmaids, who are sitting on the bed trying to kick them away. At one point, one of the men can be seen pulling his pants up. At another point in the video, at least six men can be seen piling onto three of the bridesmaids and forcing them onto the bed.
Throughout the ordeal, the four bridesmaids try to fight back, and can be heard screaming while the men laugh. One of the women can be seen pushing away one of the men. No one at any point tries to intervene.
The outlet reports that the incident in question took place at a wedding in Xingtan, a town within the city of Foshan, in Guangdong province.
A spokesperson for the local police told the newspaper they were aware of the incident and were looking to see if it took place within their jurisdiction, but noted that they had not received any reports concerning the incident.
Netizens expressed outrage at the video on social media site Weibo, with some calling the men “sick” and “vulgar.”
“Where the hell were the bride and groom?” asked one netizen, with some agreeing the couple were to blame for condoning the behavior.
Some even said that China’s predilection for wedding hazing was enough to put them off the idea of getting married altogether.
“When I get married, I’m carrying a knife; we’ll see who dares touch my bridesmaids,” one person said.
The incident was part of a hazing ritual known as naohun, a Chinese custom in which practical jokes are played on members of the wedding party.
The pre-wedding rituals also include a game sometimes referred to as “fetching the bride” or “wedding gate crash,” in which the groom and his groomsmen have to fetch the bride by completing a series of tasks set up by the bridesmaids. Tamer versions of these typically include tasks like eating unpleasant food or drinks, waxing a leg, doing push-ups, and so on. (Take, for instance, this wedding in in Northern Ireland.)
In recent years, however, China observers have noticed that the pre-wedding rituals and hazing have become more vulgar, humiliating, and violent. Examples include a bridesmaid being pinned down and groped by groomsmen while she pleads with them to stop, a best man being left with a bloody backside after he was lashed to a lamppost with firecrackers tied to his rear, and in one case, three bridesmaids being cut in the face by shards of glass after groomsmen tried to force their way into their home to collect the bride — with an axe.
Other incidents reported on by Coconuts HK alone have included one groom being stripped of his pants, tied to a lamppost, and doused him with Coca Cola and soy sauce. Another involved a groom who was forced to wear red panties and stockings, then tied to a lamppost (we see a theme emerging here) and pelted with eggs and paint by friends and family. Last year, another groom was made to strip to his boxers, was beaten by friends and relatives, and then had salt added salt to his wounds — literally — to symbolise that marriage is tough and should be cherished.