Head of Central South University TV station under investigation for alleged sexual assault

Society & Culture

A faculty member at Central South University (CSU) in Hunan Province, who is in charge of the school’s campus television station, is under investigation (in Chinese) by the university administration after being accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a female student.

The probe into Zhāng Xiàngzhēn 张向真 was spurred by complaints from the alleged victim’s friend. She made an anonymous social media post (in Chinese) on October 15, claiming that her friend, who worked part time at the station, was raped and impregnated by Zhang.

According to the friend, Zhang, who is in his fifties, successfully convinced the twentysomething alleged victim to sleep over at his home after she worked late one evening. During her stay at Zhang’s apartment, the alleged offender forced her to have sex with him and got her pregnant. After she told Zhang about her pregnancy, he arranged an abortion for her.

“She cried excessively because of the incident. She told me she wanted to kill herself on multiple occasions. I feel so sorry for her because she’s just an innocent girl who didn’t know how to protect herself,” the post’s creator wrote, adding that she attempted to encourage her friend to file complaints with school officials using her real name, but the alleged victim didn’t report the assault due to embarrassment and fear of retaliation.

The post does not include any information concerning the timeline of the whole ordeal. When confronted by some internet users over the omission of exact dates, the author said she and her friend were willing to provide more details regarding the case if an investigation started.

A few hours after the post went viral on the Chinese internet, the university released a statement (in Chinese) saying that the school had launched an internal investigation into the complaints.

In China, sexual misconduct behavior by men in positions of power is a widespread problem. The situation is particularly dire on college campuses, where male faculty members often hold enormous power over their students, which makes them particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault.