Professor in China Accused After #MeToo Post

By Faith Magbanua, January 13, 2018 05:01 AM

#metoo(Pixabay)

A professor in a Chinese university has been fired for charges of committing sexual misconduct, after a former student named him in the #MeToo campaign.

Beihang University in Beijing said an investigation had established that the professor, named Chen Xiaowu, had sexually harassed students.

Earlier this month, his former student Luo Xixi has shared her story on China's version of Twitter, Weibo,.

Following her post, Luo's account immediately went viral and was seen as China's first widely-shared #MeToo moment.

Luo, who now lives in the US, previously told the BBC that the #MeToo movement in the West had given her "a lot of courage".

In her post, she said that Chen had tried to force himself on her 13 years ago, after luring her to his sister's house. He later relented after she burst into tears, she said.

She then contacted other women who also said they had been harassed by him, and gathered evidence - including audio recordings - before taking the case to the university and sharing the case online.

Sexual harassment in China

In a post wriiten by China.org.cn,  it states that "nearly one in five female respondents has experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a recent survey released by Women's Watch China, a Beijing-based non-profit organization, in its annual report.

The poll found some 19.8 percent of 1,837 interviewees - 37 percent men, 63 percent women - from more than 10 companies in Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces had been sexual harassment victims. Another 23.9 percent revealed they had heard or witnessed sexual harassment of colleagues."

#MeToo

Gaining more than, three million views within the day, her post on Weibo have triggered a heated debate online about sexual harassment in China.

On Thursday, Beihang University announced that Chen had been found to have "seriously violated" the school's code of conduct.

Chen had been removed as vice-president of the university's graduate school and had his teaching credentials revoked, it said.

"The school will draw lessons from this... and improve," said the university added in a Weibo post on Thursday.

However, in defense to the numerous allegations that he is facing, the professor has previously denied any charges against him.

Although Luo's post was widely read and has also sparked a discussion about sexual harassment, observers are saying that the #MeToo campaign has not yet been as prominent on Chinese social media, compared to many other countries.

In addition to that, feminist activists have cited a lack of proper mechanisms to deal with sexual harassment, fears of victim-blaming, internet censorship and the detention of five prominent feminists in 2015 as potential reasons for this.

The #MeToo movement according to Tarana Burke, #MeToo is a "bold declarative statement that 'I'm not ashamed' and 'I'm not alone.' On the other side, it's a statement from survivor to survivor that says 'I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I'm here for you or I get it.

Follwing the movement, more people whethere male or female, in the United States, has been voicing out their suppor towards the campaign.  The age of the supporters doesn't just revolve aroudn the older actors and actresses, but more and more young people are getting involved into supporting the cause.

Just recently, in the annual Golden Globe Awards, most of the attendees can be seen to be wearing black some with the pin of that says "Time's up"

Time's Up is a movement against sexual harassment founded in 2018 in response to the Weinstein effect and #MeToo. 

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