Chinese blogger Xu Lai stabbed in Beijing bookshop
Audience members apparently heard one of the attackers accuse him of 'offending' people, suggesting he was targeted because of his outspoken blog
A well-known Chinese blogger and novelist is recovering after he was stabbed by unidentified assailants as he gave a talk in a Beijing bookshop this weekend.
Audience members apparently heard one of the attackers accuse him of "offending" people, leading friends and readers to suggest he was targeted because of his outspoken blog.
Xu Lai was rushed to hospital following the attack on Saturday afternoon, but given the all clear following an emergency operation. He remained in hospital today.
Xu works as a journalist, but is best known for his edgy, satirical blog ProState In Flames which covers many sensitive issues. It was shut down by censors last November, but he reopened it at another site.
According to the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, two men grabbed Xu shortly after he finished speaking and dragged him into the toilets. When his wife forced her way in, she saw that one was holding a dagger while the other one had a kitchen knife and was preparing to hack Xu's hand. The men fled from the One Way Street bookshop before anyone could catch them.
Guo Jianlong, a reporter and friend of Xu, said he noticed a commotion and spotted the writer holding his stomach and leaning against the wall.
According to various reports, the attackers said either "We're here for revenge," "You'll know better than to offend people next time," or "You brought this on yourself. You know why you're doing this, don't you?"
His friend and fellow blogger Hecaitou wrote on Twitter: "Xu Lai doesn't have any private enemies."
According to the Southern Metropolis Daily he described Xu as "a low-key sort of person who wouldn't provoke anyone. However, there are many things on his blog that can touch a nerve and he has probably made enemies that way."
As news spread rapidly via websites, bulletin boards and Twitter, many people expressed fears that Xu had been targeted for his writing.
One commenter asked: "My god.are we living in Wen Yiduo's era?" – in reference to the poet and activist assassinated in 1945 after a public talk.
Another wrote, in the comments section of Xu's blog: "Comrades, netizens, such a despicable trick cannot stop the progress of Chinese people toward freedom and democracy."
But others said people should not leap to conclusions about the cause of the attack, which is under investigation by the police.