Earlier today we ran the story of Vera Lui Lai-yiu 吕丽瑶, a champion hurdler in Hong Kong who recently revealed she was a victim of sexual assault at the hands of a former coach. Her story, posted onto her Facebook page, generated a wealth of positive responses, such as, “Support you and appreciate your bravery, hope you get out of it and continue to bring medals to Hong Kong!”
Meanwhile, in mainland China, a Shanghai woman’s post today on Sina Weibo (in Chinese), in which she said she was molested by a neighborhood man three times over two years, is going viral on Chinese social media, but for the wrong reasons. In the post — which first appeared on the woman’s WeChat — the author, whose pseudonym is Baxixulaoshi 巴西徐老师, said she reported the offender to a local police station after each attack, but the police kept telling her that the man “is too old to be arrested,” fearing that he might “cause additional trouble” for them if he dies in custody.
“I kept taking photos of him and exposing him on Weibo,” the woman wrote, adding that she did everything she could, but the man didn’t receive any form of punishment and is still wandering the streets freely, molesting women. “If you don’t want such things to happen to you, or women you care about, please share this article,” the women wrote. “I want to empower more female victims of sexual harassment to speak out.”
The widely circulated article, however, was censored on WeChat merely one day after its publication. On the author’s Weibo account, she posted a notice (in Chinese) from WeChat authorities, who said the article had been removed because it violated some of the platform’s relevant regulations and that the decision was made after receiving too many complaints from users:
Wondering who would report such a courageous article? You can get an idea from this deluge of nasty comments (in Chinese) that appeared below her post:
- “What did you lose? It’s just a grope. Why are you so overreacting? You must have been living in a greenhouse and never experienced any setbacks in your life before. You think the world is just, so you want a fair result, but I guarantee you that you’ll have more doubts about your life when you encounter a real groper.”
- “He is an old man. Why do you keep making a fuss over it? Just get over it. If I were you, I would just let it go.”
- “Imagine if there are two women in front of this man, one dresses revealingly and one dresses conservatively. Which one would he grope? You should find some problems in yourself!”
On the most recent episode of Sinica, author Leta Hong Fincher talked about how the government is complicit in allowing sexism and sexual harassment go unchecked in China, and how censors and the state-controlled press tend to recoil from “socially destabilizing” allegations. This is what she means. In China, the #MeToo movement still has a long way to go.