Burden of Proof in Harassment Case Unmet, Dealing a Blow to China’s #MeToo Effort

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Burden of Proof in Harassment Case Unmet, Dealing a Blow to China’s #MeToo Effort

A Beijing court determined that a Chinese woman failed to fulfill her burden of proof in asserting that her workplace superior sexually assaulted her, putting China’s #MeToo campaign in jeopardy.

In 2018, Zhou Xiaoxuan, a former intern at Chinese official broadcaster CCTV, accused Zhu Jun, a well-known CCTV personality, of sexual harassment. Zhou rose to prominence as the face of China’s #MeToo movement, but after a three-year-long case, the Haidian People’s Court ruled against her late Tuesday night.

Zhou told reporters outside the court Tuesday afternoon, “I’m extremely thankful for everyone, whether we win or lose, I’m quite pleased to have experienced these previous three years.”

While Zhou was speaking to reporters, unidentified men and women attempted to push her along. A woman shouted “pandemic safety” to discourage Zhou from speaking, and one man questioned whether it was proper for her to speak alone.

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Hundreds more women began to speak up in 2018 about being harassed or attacked in the past. Police have mostly shut down the movement since then, with activists having their internet messages banned and facing pressure from authorities when attempting to stage protests, but Zhou has remained vocal.

Zhou filed the complaint against Zhu to counter an earlier suit he had filed against her. In 2014, she accused him of groping and kissing her violently, and she demanded a public apology as well as 50,000 yuan ($7,600) in damages. The allegations have been refuted by Zhu.

While there are no longer protests or lawyers and others assisting victims with legal action, some people are still fighting for justice for sexual abuse victims, even if they don’t use the hashtag #MeToo.

In recent weeks, a slew of sexual assault and rape allegations have drew global attention. The most notable was an allegation of sexual assault leveled against two individuals by an Alibaba employee. Kris Wu, a Chinese-Canadian musician, was also detained in Beijing on suspicion of rape after allegations surfaced online.

In August, victims’ complaints led to the detention of a math teacher on charges of forceful molestation and the dismissal of a popular teacher. This is a condensed version of the information.

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