An anonymous woman who interned at Guangming Daily as a politics reporter in 2016 has come forward to accuse Zhōu Hóngshuāng 周洪双, a journalist at the newspaper, of attempted rape, varying degrees of groping, and harassment, according to an article published by the alleged victim on September 29.
In a now-deleted post on Weibo, which attracted more than 50,000 views before its disappearance, @灵灵虎儿 said that Zhou first sexually assaulted her during her internship at the publication’s Beijing branch in 2016, when she was a senior in college and Zhou was a politics reporter, before becoming the newspaper’s correspondent in Sichuan Province. According to the unnamed woman, the incident occured in the evening when Zhou insisted on meeting her at school to give her a final performance review of the internship. After taking a walk together on campus, Zhou drove her around and parked at a hotel despite her multiple requests to get back to the school.
“Though I felt strange, and was terrified, I finally agreed to spend the night outside because he is a journalist working for Guangming Daily and acted like a nice person before,” the woman said, alleging that the reporter who once earned her trust started to grope her not long after they entered a hotel room. Appalled by the attack, the alleged victim begged Zhou to leave. But Zhou refused and promised not to harm her again.
“He lay next to me. I forced myself to stay awake, hoping that this horrible night could end very soon,” the woman said, adding that Zhou made inappropriate advances on her again the next morning and eventually let her go after she made several attempts to escape. The woman also said that Zhou continued to harass her by showing up at her school and sending her unsolicited gifts.
“Two years ago, when I started my internship at Guangming Daily, I was innocent and full of hopes. But what followed was two years of dark and painful experiences,” the woman said. “I loathe myself for my timidness and ignorance. But at the same time, I think it’s a terrible thing for a newspaper that I once admired to have journalists like Zhou.”
At the end of the article, the woman said she received a response from the publication’s disciplinary inspection department two months after she submitted a letter of complaint on July 7. “I’ll publish the response in my next Weibo post,” she said.
However, her Weibo account currently shows no posts.
Neither Zhou nor Guangming Daily have responded to the allegations.
Zhou is the most recent of several professionals in media to be accused of sexual misconduct in recent months. Others include Zhu Jun 朱军, a prominent CCTV host who is now suing a former intern for defamation after she came forward with accusations of sexual harassment. According to an online survey initiated in 2017 by Huang Xueqin 黄雪琴, a young female journalist who was once sexually harassed by a senior journalist at a national news agency, more than 80 percent of the female journalists who participated in the survey said they had suffered sexual harassment in the workplace.