More than 50 instructors from over 30 Chinese colleges have signed an anti-sexual harassment manifesto drafted by Xu Kaibin 徐开彬 (pictured above), a journalism professor at Wuhan University.
Published last Friday, the manifesto aims to showcase “the signed professors’ zero-tolerance attitude toward on-campus sexual assault and their shared determination to be role models for students,” Xu said (in Chinese) in a recent interview with Beijing News.
Xu said it was the news of Chen Xiaowu 陈小武, a former professor at Beihang University who was stripped of all teaching duties after seuxal harassement allegations from a former student, that prompted him to start contemplating the issue.
Prior to joining Wuhan University in 2015, Xu studied and taught in the U.S. for about 12 years (he received his doctorate from the University of Colorado before becoming an assistant professor at Temple University). He recalled taking classes about sexual harassment every two years and needing to pass after-class exams while he was teaching on American campuses.
“I am not the type of person to worship everything foreign, but Chinese universities have much to learn from its U.S. counterparts in this aspect,” Xu said.
Inspired by the #MeToo movement, students from various Chinese colleges have written letters to their schools, calling for a system to prevent on-campus sexual harassment. Earlier this month, we translated an open letter to combat on-campus sexual harassment penned by leading Chinese feminist Xiao Meili.
Below is a full translation of Xu’s manifesto:
Nationwide manifesto of college instructors against sexual harassment
Recently, Beihang University’s Changjiang scholar Chen Xiaowu, vice dean of Nanchang University Zhou Bin, and University of International Business and Economics associate professor Xue Yuan were exposed of long-term sexual harassment of females students. We, as university instructors, are enraged and want to express our harshest condemnation of them. To protect our students and prevent similar incidents, we jointly sign and publish the following appeal:
We appeal the National Ministry of Education, universities, high schools, middle schools, and primary schools to set detailed and strict policies and rules against sexual harassment.
We appeal the National People’s Congress to set detailed and strict laws against sexual harassment and severely punish seuxal abusers, especially those who attack students.
We require that every year, all universities, high schools, middles schools, and primary schools give a one-hour lecture on policies and rules about sexual harassment to all students and teachers, to be attended by everyone, including school officials of every level.
We require every department, campus, school leader, after receiving a report of sexual harassment, to report the case level by level, and carefully investigate each case. Faculty members who withhold reports from superiors should all be removed from their positions.
We require that once a sexual harassment case is confirmed, the abuser should be fired, lose their teaching qualification, be reported to the National Ministry of Education, and exposed by media organizations. Those who have committed a crime should be handed over to law enforcement.
We promise we will never sexually harass our student, colleagues, or subordinates.
We promise if we encounter any sexual harassment allegations from our students, colleagues, or subordinates, we will report them directly to school principals.
We promise we will firmly support and protect victims of sexual harassment, and expose any individuals or organizations who retaliate against victims, informants, and whistleblowers.
January 19, 2018