A resounding case of sexual harassment in China, considered the first “#MeToo” case in the country’s history, was dismissed late Tuesday by the courts. Zhou Xiaoxuan, 28, accused star host Zhu Jun in 2018 of forcibly kissing and stroking her while she was an intern four years earlier on national television. His accusations had triggered an avalanche of similar testimony on social networks, like the #MeToo movement denouncing sexual harassment in Western countries.
But after three years of legal battle, a Beijing court ruled on Tuesday that there was not enough evidence to justify a trial. “The evidence provided by complainant Zhou is not sufficient to establish that she was subjected to harassment,” the Haidian District Intermediate People’s Court summed up in a statement. The complaint was originally filed in the name of the bodily harm, but the complainant’s lawyers then tried to rephrase it on the basis of a new anti-harassment law passed last year.
“Whether I win or lose, I am very proud to have gone through these three years”
Despite this legislation, Chinese women are often reluctant to report harassment and few cases end up in court. Zhou Xiaoxuan, who also presents himself under the pseudonym Xianzi, demanded a public apology as well as damages of 50,000 yuan (6,500 euros). “Whether I win or lose, I am very proud to have gone through these three years with everyone,” she said Tuesday afternoon to her supporters upon arriving at the hearing.
“I hope Xianzi realizes that she has done something very important”, added a woman posing as “Lucy”. In December, the first hearing drew an unusual crowd outside the court. The police had arrested foreign reporters. Zhu Jun did not attend any of the hearings. The communist regime has made efforts in recent years to censor the #MeToo movement, and Zhou Xiaoxuan’s account on the Weibo social network has been blocked.
Several prominent personalities have nonetheless been implicated in cases of harassment, including the former head of the very official Chinese Buddhist Association and most recently the Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu, arrested in Beijing last month. last on the rape charge.