A series of book signings by writer and 6.5 million-follower weibo celebrity Li Chengpeng has become a lightning rod for tensions between leftists and liberals. In an incident at a signing in Beijing on Sunday, two men threw a punch and an ominously gift-wrapped knife at Li. This apparently encouraged a strong showing by both sides in Shenzhen on Tuesday, with at least three clashes taking place during the event. From He Huifeng and Choi Chi-yuk at the South China Morning Post:
“I would hardly be here to buy Li’s book if not for what happened to him on Sunday,” one young man said. “I just came here to show my support for Li, a liberal-minded critic.”
[…] Meanwhile, dozens of protesters, most in their 40s or 50s and some wearing Mao Zedong badges, gathered outside the building.
One of the protesters said he was outraged by some of Li’s recent comments, such as labelling those who took to the streets in anti-Japanese demonstrations in Shenzhen “brain damaged”.
“Li is a typical traitor who does nothing more than distort history and mislead the public, particularly the young,” he said.
Also at the South China Morning Post, Laura Zhou had previously described Sunday’s altercation, over which Li is reportedly considering legal action.
Li Chengpeng, a former journalist, was punched in the head during an afternoon signing of his new book for readers at the Zhongguancun Bookstore in Haidian district, and another man was filmed throwing a packaged kitchen knife at Li.
The man who punched Li claimed to have a strong aversion to the content of Li’s new book, The Whole World Knows. The assailant was taken away by Beijing police, according to a post on the public security bureau’s microblog that night.
The new book is a collection of essays
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