Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Video prompts Shanghai punishment

By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Shanghai

Chinese net user, AFP
Web users, angry at the violence, posted the girls' identities online

A Chinese school says it will punish a pupil shown beating another in a video posted on the internet.

Web users, angered by the violence, worked together to reveal the identity of the two girls - a phenomenon the Chinese call a "human flesh search".

The footage showed a teenage girl attacking another in an alley, while bystanders watched but did little.

It led to a protest by about 200 people outside the playground of the school in Shanghai, local media report.

The police had to be called to restore order.

The beating was reported to be a row over a boyfriend. The victim did not appear to fight back.

The short video was posted online on Friday night.

By Sunday night outraged internet users had posted the name of the attacker, her age, address and home phone number online.

Bulletin board comments

The alleged attacker is a 17-year-old student at a vocational college.

The school said it has told the victim's family to report the incident to the police. It has used the incident to highlight their concerns about their pupils' behaviour.

The college president complained that many students behaved badly, had low self-esteem and received little support from their parents.

The comments posted on internet bulletin boards about the incident reflect widespread concern about violence involving what they call the post-90s generation.

So-called "human flesh searches" are a relatively common phenomenon these days when internet users feel someone needs to be punished.

Some users commenting on this case have hailed what they call the "incredible" power of the internet. Others debate why teenagers attack each other, the rest just express their anger.

Phone calls to what is reported to be the girl's home have not been answered.

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