#MeToo in China

#MeToo in China

#MeToo started gaining traction in China in January, but it’s struggled to maintain momentum in the face of censorship.

‘Like a movement’: Beijing exhibition aims to keep #MeToo alive in China
In a darkened room, pieces of paper with pencils stabbed through the middle tell the stories of sexual abuse and harassment. On the floor, speakers play a loop of monologues from victims. In another corner, a giant mosaic spells the English word “Resist.” These are installations at an exhibit named “Her Story – Eliminating Gender Violence 2020,” an exhibition launched by feminism activists in Beijing that ran between November 25 and December 1.  The display followed their #MeToo exhibit last year that was displayed in five locations across China, said one of the curators, who only wants to be referred to as Jing. China’s #MeToo movement started in 2018, when Luo Xixi, a Beihang University gr
China's guide to ending abuse of students in college
China’s education department issued a new regulation on November 11 banning postgraduate tutors from having “improper” relations with students to prevent instances of exploitation.  Postgraduate tutors are often treated as guiding mentors, or even employers, by students who face immense pressure to achieve high marks in China’s notoriously high-pressure academic culture. The relationship dynamic has resulted in sexual misconduct or bullying from teachers, and in some cases resulted in the student committing suicide.  The directive banned tutors from the following violations, among others: Humiliating their students Using their students to apply for research grants Willfully postponing stud
Alleged sexual abuse of teen girl prompts calls to raise age of consent
In a case that has thrown a spotlight on China’s age of consent laws, a businessman has denied accusations that he assaulted a 14-year-old girl and described the relationship as romantic. The alleged victim, who is now 18, told Chinese media outlets South Reviews and Thepaper.cn in April that the man, who adopted her in 2015, sexually assaulted her over the course of more than three years. She said the assault first took place when she was 14 years old. Lawyers say the businessman, Bao Yuming, may be able to defend himself by asserting the alleged sex was consensual. The case is being investigated by police in the eastern city of Yantai, where Bao lives.  In a response to South Reviews, Bao
Former Chinese university official fired after #MeToo allegation
Despite arrests and censorship campaigns, China’s #MeToo movement has succeeded in shedding light on problems of sexual harassment in the country, particularly in universities.  In once such recent case, a former vice-president of a top Chinese university was fired over allegations of sexual harassment after a six-month-long investigation.  Cai Xiang also faces charges of corruption and has been stripped of his Communist Party membership.  China’s education disciplinary commission and the party’s disciplinary watchdog for Beijing municipality found that Cai Xiang had maintained “inappropriate sexual relationships with several women, accepted bribes and misused public funds.” In July 2018, a
Chinese prof sacked after alleged sex assault of student prompted outrage
A Chinese professor has been sacked by a prominent university in Shanghai after a sexual assault allegation against him prompted public outrage.  Last weekend, a part-time graduate student at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics accused the associate professor, 55-year-old Qian Fengsheng, of sexual assault.  In a detailed online post, the student said the professor had been sending her suggestive WeChat messages since September. On November 16, he offered to answer the student’s academic questions in his car – only to drive to a deserted road, where he allegedly locked the car, kissed her forcibly and sexually assaulted her, according to the post.  The 28-year-old student, who w
Leading #MeToo activist arrested in China
A journalist who was a leader of the #MeToo movement in China has been arrested in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou for allegedly disturbing public order, sources familiar with the case said on Thursday. Two sources said Huang Xueqin, who goes by Sophia, was formally arrested a week ago on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – an offense often used by police to detain dissidents and social activists. It can carry a prison sentence of up to five years. Huang also recently shared photos of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on her social media accounts. It’s unclear if this activity was related to her arrest.  The 30-year-old activist has been held at the Baiyun Dist
The divergent tales of two women’s rights crusaders in China
Feminists Wang Wei and Xiong Jing both found their calling in college, but their experiences of campaigning for women’s rights in China have been vastly different. Wang, 21, who provides sex education through a start-up she founded, has received official policy and funding support for her activities. But 31-year-old Xiong, a prominent #MeToo activist seeking to change attitudes toward women, has been under tight government scrutiny, and her organization was shut down. This split-screen contrast may reflect one of the many contradictions in China’s economic, political and social policies as the ruling Communist Party tries to meet demands for a more equal society as people get richer, without
China must do more to protect children from sexual abuse
Last month, the Supreme People’s Court of China published four so-called typical cases of sexual abuse of children. The top court vowed to use all means, including the death penalty, to punish child sex offenders. I feel encouraged by the news as it shows China is adopting a zero-tolerance attitude. I was also a victim of child sex abuse, one of many girls molested by a teacher at my primary school in the eastern city of Nanjing. This is a hidden but growing epidemic. News portal Caixin.com reported that some 8% to 12% of China’s 270 million minors might have experienced sexual assault, including rape for 1%.  “It means that nearly 30 million Chinese children could have been the victims of s
Chinese social media site blocks petition backing woman accusing tech billionaire of rape
A number of public WeChat accounts in China have been shut down after calling on people to join a petition in support of a University of Minnesota student who has accused a tech tycoon of rape. The accounts joined a campaign supporting the accuser after she filed a civil lawsuit against Richard Liu, the CEO of US-listed e-commerce giant JD.com, in a Minneapolis court last month. The woman, Jingyao Liu, said that Richard Liu, 46, had groped her in a vehicle and then raped her in her room in August. At the time, Liu was attending a University of Minnesota program for Chinese executives. Prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges in December. Liu’s defense attorneys have maintained that wha
What a ‘Girls’ Day’ says about a woman’s place in China
“I will be your breadwinner.” “Girls studying biology are my type. Older women I don’t like.” These are just a few of the examples of messages emblazoned on banners hanging across Chinese campuses on March 7, an informal “Girls’ Day” invented by college students supposedly to celebrate the youth of women.  But these public banners are sexist, not celebratory. And the bullying of those who rightly protested the messages is an ominous sign for gender equality in the world’s most populous country. Girls’ Day has been around for years. But at its heart, it is a public festival showcasing no more than male hormones. Though its origins are unclear, some believe that Girls’ Day is derived from a r