Recently, I watched a policeman (and several onlookers) stand by as a man dragged a weeping, shoeless woman along the street by her hair. Central Beijing is generally very safe but not, it seems, if your assailant is your husband.
Repeated requests that a policeman help her were ignored; only after I tried to restrain the man myself, and another passerby assisted, did the officer take action. The couple were eventually driven away to the nearest police station. I have been unable to find out what happened to the woman, but it is highly likely they returned home together: victims usually drop charges. That’s not surprising since previous domestic abuse cases suggest that the police response to such cases is woefully inadequate. I’d be shocked if a British policeman simply stood by as his counterpart did in Beijing, but this is not about blaming the Chinese officer. Domestic violence is not a China problem, it is a global disease. And it is not just a matter for law enforcement, but for all of us.