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

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
Inkstone index: China’s shrinking female labor force
69%: the percentage of the female population aged between 15 and 64 who are currently employed or seeking employment. Although China still has one of the highest female labor participation rates in Asia, the number has been falling since the 1990s. China has the world’s biggest labor force of 740 million, but it’s increasingly male. Researchers have come up with different explanations for why the country’s economic transformation has caused more women than men to leave the workforce. Under the slogan “women hold up half the sky,” the Communist Party encouraged women to join the labor force after it took power in 1949. Before China’s widespread economic reforms four decades ago, urban women
China says employers can’t ask women if they want kids
China says women really can have it all – at least in theory.  The country is doubling down on its fight against gender-based discrimination in the workplace, in order to encourage women to work and have children at the same time.  A government directive released on Thursday bans Chinese employers from posting “men only” or “men preferred” job adverts. It also prohibits companies from asking female job seekers about their marriage and childbearing plans, or requiring applicants to take pregnancy tests. Rampant discrimination against mothers in the workplace has seen Chinese women put off having children in order to stay competitive in the job market. Guo Jing, a Guangzhou-based social worker
Tech mogul apologizes for defending billionaire’s ‘affair’
A tech mogul has apologized for defending Richard Liu, a Chinese billionaire and founder of JD.com who tacitly admitted to cheating on his wife after being cleared of rape charges in the United States. “It wasn’t sexual assault. It was sex outside of marriage, and you can’t say it brought any harm to shareholders and staff members,” wrote Li Guoqing, the co-founder of online bookstore DangDang, on the Twitter-like platform of Weibo on Sunday. Citing insufficient evidence, Minnesota prosecutors on Friday said they would not charge Liu, who was arrested in the state after a 21-year-old Chinese student accused him of raping her. Wil Florin, an attorney representing the young woman, said that th