The rise in violent crime in Beijing is a hot topic in expat circles. To help cut through the rumors and hearsay, we'll be perpetually updating a list of attacks and arguments that have been verified as true. This is not intended to be a scare tactic. Rather, it's meant to keep you informed as to what's going on so that you know to be aware and alert when you're out at night.
June 13, 2012: Around 2am outside of Zhuang bar in Shuangjing, a French man tried to explain to two Chinese men that a taxi had been waiting for him when they tried to get inside. These men phoned another friend of theirs who was nearby, and they proceeded to violently push both the French man and two Australian men who came from the bar to try to help translate.
One of the Australian men was punched in the face unprovoked and then kicked repeatedly in the torso after falling to the ground. The staff at Zhuang locked their doors and refused to provide assistance to the injured man. The other two foreign men were repeatedly pushed and threatened every time they tried to approach the bar area to help the man who had been punched.
The injured man was later hit with a stool by one of the same Chinese men when he tried to find help, and the French man was punched hard enough in the side that he was coughing up blood the next day. The Chinese men eventually got into a car near Grinders and drove away. The injured Australian was helped by the staff of the convenience store along that strip, who provided him with an ice pack and tissues. He suffered a badly cut lip.
Afterwards, they filed a police statement and contacted their embassies. According to one of the men involved (who is a dual citizen), the Australian embassy provided no assistance beyond telling him to file a police report, while the British embassy took a detailed report of everything that happened.
The reason he provided all these details is because he hopes that people will take care to try to avoid arguments (even if they feel they are 100% in the right). In his opinion, communication barriers and the current tensions make situations more difficult to diffuse, so it's best to avoid them if at all possible. He also made a point of saying that he hopes reports of these incidents will serve to make people more aware of their surroundings but not resentful towards Chinese people. Despite his experience, he stressed that (as with anywhere else in the world) most locals are genuinely good people and we shouldn't let these accounts cloud our judgement.
June 12, 2012: The U.S. Embassy sent out a warning email after one of their employees was assaulted at Element nightclub, on the west side of the Workers' Stadium. Elements responded with a press release claiming their staff acted appropriately to diffuse the situation. The full text of the email and subsequent press release can be found here, along with information about the embassy's emergency services for citizens.
May 23, 2012: City Weekend staffer Sarah Ting-Ting Hou was verbally and then physically assaulted by two Chinese men in a car while walking home along the street by Nearby the Tree in Sanlitun back street. Her attackers then parked the car on Xindong Lu and waited for her to walk past before punching and kicking both her and the other expat couple who was walking her home.