While pointing out the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, an article in China’s leading English language newspaper claimed that type of sexual misconduct would never happen in China because of the country’s culture.
In the article, the author posed certain back and forth questions and then answered them as well. In one instance, he questioned “What prevents sexual harassment from becoming a common phenomenon in China, as it is in most Western societies?”
The writer then stated a “straightforward” answer to the question: “Chinese traditional values and conservative attitudes tend to safeguard women against inappropriate behavior from members of the opposite gender.”
The Egyptian-Canadian writer, who has resided in China, also wrote that as compared to western countries, sexual harassment is less common in China because, “Chinese men are taught to be protective of their women. Behaving inappropriately toward women, including harassing them sexually, contradicts every Chinese traditional value and custom.”
However, looks like the author needs to brush up on his facts.
People have reacted furiously to the article and have called out the author for the misinformation. Many women came forward and shared stories of sexual harassment.
Leta Hong Fincher, the author of a forthcoming book titled “Betraying Big Brother: China’s Feminist Resistance,” said, “There’s the pervasive misogyny in Chinese society, and then add to that this huge government crackdown on feminism, so any women who wants to come forward needs to take a huge risk.”
“There’s also state media aggressively pushing traditional gender norms, where women are supposed to play these roles of a good wife and good mother who should be preparing themselves to have babies,” she further said.
Censorship in China is also to blame for the lack of reporting on the issue. The Chinese government controls much of the content broadcast on the media. The media also highlights problems that are prevalent in the west and non-existent in China.
Filmmaker Christoph Rehage also highlighted the issue and said sexual harassment exists in the Chinese film industry as well.
The Chinese movie industry is full of abuse. Many actresses, especially the younger ones, are being treated like prostitutes.— Christoph Rehage (@crehage) October 16, 2017
According to a survey, more than 30 percent of respondents said they had experienced gender-based sexual violence or sexual harassment. According to 2013 U.N. study, 9 percent of about 1,000 Chinese men surveyed reported that they had committed rape and 14 percent of men reported they had sexually harassed a woman.
Therefore, although the number of sexual harassment cases reported may be low in comparison to the United States, that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening in the country.
Last year, an example of workplace harassment in China emerged when a Beijing-based company made it mandatory for its female employees to line up and kiss their male boss at the beginning of each workday.
The reason: The business believes this disgusting display of sexual harassment is the best way to “enhance corporate culture” and “foster good relationships among colleagues.”
Sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the workplace, especially in low-wage or poorly regulated industries — such as retail and domestic work — continue to go unnoticed because they are hardly ever reported.
However, that doesn’t mean the activity isn’t taking place in the country. Most of these cases are never known because the victim is too scared and reluctant to share the story.
Heavy censorship! Reality of course is that the problem is rampant in both—all—places.— Sophie Richardson (@SophieHRW) October 16, 2017
WTF!? Sexual harassment not common in China?! Whoever wrote this has NEVER stepped foot in China.— Garrick Mitchler (@GarrickJM) October 17, 2017
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