So, we all know and support the #MeToo movements that have happened throughout recent years. Women coming forward with stories of their sexual abuse and assault and finally getting the justice they deserve. However, some places have not been quiet as supportive. In China, where the Communist Party has very strict limitations when it comes to activism and such high control over the internet, women have not been nearly as supported. When it comes to women speaking out about prominent men, they get hushed, and silenced and even sued for it as it is seen as a “defamation of character.”
One instance that really shows the severity of this problem would be He Qian and her sexual assault case. Over two years ago, Ms.Qian, a former journalist, came forward with allegations of sexual assault from her chief journalist, Deng Fei. She stated in an article that Fei invited her to a hotel room in order for them to discuss some stories but ended up forcibly kissing and groping her. Fei responded by saying that he’s “never done such a bad and stupid thing,” in a post on social media. He even said that he doesn’t even recall ever meeting her. To take things even further, Ms.Qian and her friend, Zuo Sicong, who helped to share her story were both ordered to pay over $1,800 in legal fees and damages to Fei. However, it doesn’t stop there. When this case got taken to court, the courts sided with Fei saying that Ms.Qian did not have enough evidence of the alleged assault and “what they described lacks factual evidence and legal basis.” The case lasted a few years and this past January, the courts ruled that Ms.Qian and Mr.Sicong have violated defamation laws by publishing her accusations. “Chinese law needs to do more to respond to #MeToo,” Ms.Qian said in an interview. “This is only the beginning and far from enough.” The #MeToo movement has gained support in China over the last few years but it has still been very difficult with such high limitations enforced by the government. Along with these limitations, things like rape and sexual assault are still considered very taboo subjects in China and authorities often discourage women from speaking out against their assailiants. Along with this movement, men have often sued their accusers for defamation in order to scare them into silence. “Hoping a topic will just disappear and return to the old world is ignorant and peremptory,” Mr.Sicong wrote on a social media post. “I will take responsibility until the end for publishing the article about He Qian.”
One thought on “The #MeToo Movement in China”
Ugh, it’s awful that this is a common experience for so many people! Experiencing sexual assault in itself is traumatic, but having the government and the so-called “justice” system side against you makes it even worse. Thanks for writing about this I had no idea it was happening!