Sued for saying #MeToo

pasted image 0 16Zhōu Fēi 周非, a senior official at the China branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), sued Wáng Qí 王琪 in 2018, accusing his former employee of defaming him when she alleged workplace sexual harassment.

The New York Times reports (porous paywall):

In a small courtroom in Beijing, supporters of Wáng Qí 王琪 huddled together, awaiting the start of China’s first #MeToo trial. Ms. Wang had accused her former boss of sexually harassing her.

But it wasn’t Ms. Wang’s former boss who was on trial. It was Ms. Wang herself.

Zhōu Fēi 周非, a top official at the China branch of the World Wildlife Fund, sued Ms. Wang in August 2018, accusing his former employee of defaming him when she wrote in a social media post that he forcibly kissed her during a work trip.

“If one doesn’t make a sacrifice for the protection of women’s rights and interests,” she said last year, before her lawyer warned her she risked further defamation claims by talking, “there will definitely be no progress.”

In China, the accuser can quickly become the accused. At least six men publicly accused of sexual assault or harassment have sued their accusers, or people who have publicized those accusers’ claims, for defamation in the past year.

In fact, of just 34 lawsuits filed in China between 2010 and 2017 related to sexual harassment in the workplace, 19 of those were filed by the accused perpetrators, according to the Beijing Yuanzhong Gender Development Center, an advocacy group. More than half were filed by accused harassers against their employers, citing unfair dismissal or harm to their reputations.

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