Since #metoo started in 2017, China's version with hashtags #woyeshi, #我也是, #米兔 as well as many spin offs such as #NoPerfectVictim, #HereForUs, #NoLongerSilentFacedWithDV, #LhamoAct and much more, have sculpted China's women rights through the years.
Here are some notable women and their achievements.
Guo Jianmei is a well known human rights lawyer, who has dedicated the last 30 years fighting for China's most vulnerable women. To date, Guo’s legal aid entity has provided free legal counselling to over 120,000 women in questions related to marriage law, property rights, labour rights, gender discrimination in the workplace, land rights, and many other important legal fields.
Guo and her colleagues have represented more than 100,000 women in over 4000 court cases all over China. She successfully introduced the concept of free legal services for vulnerable women into the Chinese legal and cultural context.
Since 1995, Guo and her team of lawyers have submitted over 110 legal opinions, research reports, and legislative proposals, some of which suggested improving the relevant laws and regulations.
Their persistent advocacy for the victims of domestic abuse helped pave the way for the enactment of China’s first Domestic Violence Law in 2016. The team has provided legal aid to cases which used to be considered “private family matters”. Guo’s Beijing Qianqian Law Firm compiled a selection of domestic violence cases its lawyers had handled and published it under the title “Punishing Domestic Abuse with the Sword of the Law”.
All photos found here, highly recommend reading about her in the same link. She's such an inspiration!
A prominent figure in China, Sophia Huang Xueqin, a Guangzhou-based journalist who was assaulted in 2012, was conducting a survey of her industry to expose the prevalence of sexual misconduct.
Her example encouraged others to come forward with their experiences, leading to the sacking and disciplining of a number of university academics.
She conducted a survey of women journalists on the mainland to determine the extent of sexual harassment in the industry. She has also built an online platform to collect victims’ accounts and share information about sexual harassment, starting the hashtag #WoYeShi.
She was arrested by Chinese authorities in 2019. It was for charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – an offence often used by police to detain dissidents and social activists, and that can attract a prison sentence of up to five years. She spent nearly three months in detention on charges of “provoking trouble.”
Upon her release, she wrote, "This is Xueqin, and I’m back,” according to a friend who received the message and asked not to be identified. “One second of darkness doesn’t make people blind.”
Another woman, Xu Yalu, posted an account of being molested by an elderly man to China’s popular social media platform, WeChat, in November 2017. Her article, which also denounced the police’s incompetence in helping her, went viral with 1.19 million views and almost 9000 comments, before Chinese authorities deleted it from the platform.
More about Huang Xueqin here, photo from the same link.
On 1st January Luo Qianqian published an eloquent online denunciation of her alleged experience with her PhD professor while studying in Beijing. “[There’s] no longer any need to be afraid … we need to stand up bravely and say ‘No!’,” she wrote, urging others to speak out using the hashtag #我也是 (#WoYeShi or #MeToo).
Also inspired by the United States’ “Silence Breakers”, Zheng Xi, a student from Hangzhou, launched a public anti-sexual harassment campaign. “I thought those actors were so brave,” she said.
More about Luo Qian Qian and Zheng Xi here, photo taken from link.
On 25th July, Mu Yixiao wrote about her rape experience on WeChat. Six hours later, Xianzi decided to write about her experience with Zhu Jun, a prominent TV entertainer, who she said forcibly groped and kissed her in 2014.
Xianzi or her real name Zhou Xiaoxuan was sued in a civil case by Zhu Jun. Also named in the suit was Xu Chao, a friend who had been championing the case online.
Zhu is demanding that the two women apologize online and in a national newspaper, pay compensation of 655,000 yuan ($95,254.72) and cover the costs of legal fees for the case, according to a copy of the filing seen by Reuters.
He’s also suing microblogging platform Weibo, where the accusations were repeated.
She has since countersued him back. More about her here, photo taken from the link.
In a rare victory, a woman who used the alias Liu Li won a sexual harassment suit against her former boss in July. The boss, a social worker in the western city of Chengdu, was required to issue a public apology but no damages were awarded.
“If you wanted to go bring a court case, then you had to bring a labor dispute — it was very difficult,” said a woman who brought her own #MeToo accusation against a prominent charity founder, who works under the name Huahua for privacy and safety. She ultimately chose not to take her accusation to court.
Sexual harassment remains sensitive in China. The movement, despite bursts of grassroots activity, has faced government pressure and censorship, the activists said.
Also in July, Ms. Wang wrote on Weibo that “a certain leader in W.W.F. surnamed Zhou” kissed her after a drunken night on March 14, 2016, during a work trip. She resigned from her job in 2017 after her depression was diagnosed, she said.
Some people asked her why she was making a big fuss over just a kiss. Her friends warned her not to talk about the incident, telling her that she had to “be careful.”
“I am just angry,” Ms. Wang wrote. “I have no ability to take him to court.”
Ms. Wang said that in the wake of her social-media posts, dozens of women had written to her, “saying they had similar encounters but they didn’t dare to speak up.”
Read more about her case here.
Abbot Xuecheng, head of the Buddhist Association of China, the youngest person to ever hold the position, and a political adviser to the government was held accountable in an extraordinary 95-page report.
Two monks accused him of sending illicit messages attempting to control the minds of nuns by claiming sex was part of their study of Buddhist doctrines.
The report alleges that six nuns were targeted - four gave in to his requests.
It also accuses the abbot of using text messages to "mind-control" the nuns by claiming that sex was part of their study of Buddhist doctrines.
The 95-page document, which was leaked online, also said one of the nuns had filed a police report in June alleging Xuecheng had sexually assaulted her.
According to the monks, they began investigations into Xuecheng's actions after a nun who stayed in Beijing in December 2017 showed them sexual messages sent from the abbot.
By late August, an investigation confirmed that Xuecheng, the abbot, had sexually harassed female disciples via text messages.
He resigned to cheers that resounded across social media. The investigation had been handled by China's national religious council, and then handed onto the police and this was heralded as a big victory.
Earlier in 2018, China had one of its first #MeToo moments after an academic accused her professor of sexual harassment. He was later sacked.
Luo Xixi, a former PhD student at Beihang University, went on Weibo to accuse her professor Chen Xiaowu of trying to rape her. Luo further encouraged others to voice their stories using the hashtag #我也是(#MeToo).
She now lives in the US, previously told the BBC that the #MeToo movement in the West had given her "a lot of courage".
In her post, she said that Chen had tried to force himself on her 13 years ago, after luring her to his sister's house. He later relented after she burst into tears, she said.
She had contacted other women who also said they had been harassed by him, and gathered evidence - including audio recordings - before taking the case to the university and sharing the case online.
Her post on Weibo gained more than three million views within a day and triggered a heated debate online about sexual harassment in China.
Beihang University announced that Chen had been found to have "seriously violated" the school's code of conduct. Chen had been removed as vice-president of the university's graduate school and had his teaching credentials revoked, it said.
"The school will draw lessons from this... and improve," said the university added in a Weibo post.
The professor has previously denied the allegations against him. Read more about her case here.
He Yuhong, a Chinese beauty blogger who goes by the online name "Yuyamika", is known for transforming herself into celebrities, including John Lennon and Taylor Swift. She released a video on her Sina Weibo account at the start of 16 Days Of Activism.
In it, she claimed her former partner, a 44-year-old illustrator, abused her repeatedly during their year-long relationship.
She also shared video interviews with two women, who claimed to be his ex-wives, speaking of their own alleged experiences of domestic violence.
The video also featured testimonials from people who claimed to have seen Mr Chen hit Ms He.
In her social media post, Ms He used the hashtag #NoLongerSilentFacedWithDV, which has since going viral.
More than 720,000 users have posted messages using the hashtag, many speaking of their own experiences with domestic violence.
At 14 years old, she was sent by her mother to live with a successful businessman in Beijing, who was supposed to serve as her caretaker and guardian. Instead, over the course of several years, she says, he repeatedly raped her and held her in his home against her will.
Now 18, the young woman, using the pseudonym Xingxing, has gone public with her account of abuse.
The man at the center of the case is Bao Yuming, a lawyer who studied in the United States and has advised some of China’s most prominent companies, including ZTE, the telecommunications giant. Mr. Bao, who is in his late 40s, has acknowledged that he had a close relationship with Xingxing but has denied any wrongdoing.
In her account, Xingxing said Mr. Bao presented himself as a father figure but quickly turned abusive. He tried to justify his intimate behavior with her by showing her child pornography, she said.
She said he installed a camera in the living room to ensure she did not leave and warned her against telling others of his behavior. Frightened and distraught, she said, she tried to commit suicide several times.
After Xingxing took her case to the news media, he was dismissed from his job as the vice president of a large oil company in eastern China, and he has since resigned from his role as a board member at ZTE.
On Monday, as public anger grew amid reports that the police initially ignored Xingxing’s complaints, the central government in Beijing said it would investigate. A hashtag about the case on Weibo, a popular social media site in China, had been viewed more than 790 million times as of late Monday.
Read more about it here.
This year (2020), the nation’s parliament enacted legislation that for the first time defines actions that can constitute sexual harassment.
The reference in the new civil code, approved by a session of the National People’s Congress, is largely a symbolic step. While it holds schools, businesses and other organizations responsible for preventing and dealing with sexual harassment, it does not lay out guidelines for enforcement.
“The civil code is a big step, but much more will need to be fleshed out,” said Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. “After all, U.S. sexual-harassment law is still developing after decades and grappling with its failures, as laid bare by #MeToo.”
Zhou Xiaoxuan's case is going to trial on Dec 2, praying with all my might for her and watching this case closely.
Eshet chayil, God is a She.
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