Asia Minute: #MeToo Not Translating Well in China

Dec 11, 2017

Beijing Street Market
Credit Robin Zebrowski / Flickr

Last week brought another wave of developments related to sexual harassment. While the “hashtag me too” movement has swept across this country, it’s been a very different story in China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The Chinese website surveyed 62,000 women a couple of years ago—asking whether they’d been sexually harassed.

80 percent said yes.

The South China Morning Post tells the story of a woman who worked as a journalist at a state-owned news agency and quit after her supervisor tried to force himself on her in a hotel room.

Huang Xueqin is now conducting a survey of women journalists in China.

Of the more than 250 that she’s polled so far, more than 80 percent say they’ve been sexually harassed.

Less than one percent of them have filed a complaint with police, three times that number quit their jobs, and most say they have suffered in silence.

Huang says “Journalists are supposed to be more resourceful and skillful advocates than others. If they don’t know how to speak out for themselves, what about the rest of the women in this country?”

Huang is heading a broader campaign to spread awareness of sexual harassment, and has set up a website to share resources.

One Beijing lawyer working on women’s rights issues says a major problem is the lack of legal protection. In China, there is no specific law against sexual harassment in the workplace.

She says cases are treated the same as a labor dispute.