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China: #MeToo, inequality, harassment and sexual politics in the workplace

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24.09.2021

The recent collapse of a high-profile sexual harassment case brought against a well-known television host has reignited debate in China over workplace gender roles and reinvigorated the country’s #MeToo movement.

Zhou Xiaoxuan, 27, says she was an intern at Chinese state-owned media company CCTV when Zhu Jun, a prominent TV presenter, groped and forcibly kissed her. The case was dismissed on September 14 on the grounds it did not meet the required standard of proof.

When Zhou first raised the allegations on social media in 2018 she quickly became the face of China’s #MeToo movement. Supporters gathered outside the court to protest the decision as Zhou vowed to appeal.

Media coverage of sexual harassment cases in China has triggered a general discussion of the problem of workplace gender relations. But the ensuing discussion often reflects a lack of public awareness about what actually constitutes workplace sexual harassment and the persistent gendered expectation of sexuality that women should take responsibility for maintaining their own sexual reputation.

Women of the “One Child generation” (1979 – 2016) are often portrayed in the Chinese media as having enviable lives. They are seen as part of a privileged generation: urban, highly educated, professional, with a wide range of opportunities.........

© The Conversation


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