Chinese News Anchor Sues Social Media Users for Spreading Sexual Harassment Accusations

Man typing on a laptop computer. Science Photo Library / ABO
Science Photo Library/ABO/AFP
ADELLE NAZARIAN

A prominent Chinese news anchor for China Central Television (CCTV) is suing social media users for sharing reports of allegations of sexual harassment against him, state media reported on Wednesday. The accusation is the latest in a series following the rise of the #MeToo movement in China.

In Chinese, “Me Too” is “Wo ye shi” or 我也是. 

Anchor Zhu Jun filed the lawsuit with the Haidian District People’s Court on Wednesday, according to China’s state-run Global Times. The law firm representing Zhu reportedly announced the suit on its Sina Weibo account. Zhu has asked the firm to investigate the matter and hold accountable the individuals spreading rumors about him.

One day later, on July 26, a user named “Maishao Tongxue” posted an article alleging that Zhu attempted to grope one of her friends but was interrupted by a guest from the show. “The woman then called the police but did not receive any feedback,” noted the Global Times.

“I voluntarily posted my friend’s experience, and I trusted her every word,” Maisho reportedly said about the incident. She reportedly “added that she hopes her efforts could help push society toward progress and development,” the publication wrote. Maishao also announced on her Weibo account on Wednesday that she has hired a lawyer to deal with the case.

Last month, Reuters reported that the Chinese #MeToo movement was born in December when a Chinese software engineer, based in the United States, published a blog post accusing a professor at a Beijing University of sexual harassment.

Since last month, the #MeToo movement has struck China and spread across social media.

In addition to Zhu, prominent charity activists, including Lei Chuang — the founder of Yi You, a charity that fights discrimination against people with hepatitis B — were accused of sexual harassment. Lei reportedly confessed to a sexual assault case and quit his position. He has since apologized.

“It’s only the beginning of ‘Me Too’ in China,” Li Tingting, a gender equality activist, told the New York Times last month. “The men-dominant structure is everywhere. The rape culture is still powerful,” she said.

Feng Yongfeng, an environmental activist who founded the non-governmental organization (NGO) Nature University, apologized for sexually harassing female colleagues last month after he was caught up in China’s #MeToo movement.

“Drinking will sometimes break my defenses, causing me to hurt some women,” Feng reportedly admit on his WeChat account. “I express my most sincere apology to those women I have harassed or hurt. I am willing to face the consequences for the things I have done in the past.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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