The #MeToo movement that started with accusations against Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood has finally spread to China, although it’s facing different obstacles there, thanks to China’s sociopolitical landscape of patriarchal Confucian values and repressive politics.
One of the catalysts for #MeToo in China, translated as “我也是” or #WoYeShi, was a social media post by academic Luo Xixi last month, in which she accused her former doctoral professor Chen Xiaowu of unwanted sexual advances. Although Luo now lives in Silicon Valley, her story went viral in China, and Beihang University suspended Chen and conducted an investigation on Luo’s behalf.
Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin spoke up on social media about her experiences being groped and harassed by a senior male reporter during her internship at a national news agency more than six years ago. Xueqin also took things a step further by creating a WeChat poll that asked female journalists about their experiences with sexual harassment. Out of 255 respondents, more than 80 percent reported being sexually harassed at least once.
According to Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother, an upcoming book about China’s feminist movement, she says that serious consequences for sexual harassment are possible in China, but still the exception. “You’re going to have isolated cases where a woman comes out using her real name and maybe that perpetrator will be suspended or fired,” says Fincher. “I have no doubt that we’ll see more of those cases. But the thing is that it can’t go too far.”
The #MeToo movement in the US…