#MeToo at China’s most prestigious art school

Society & Culture

CAFA

Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

A group of students at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China’s top art school, are calling on school authorities to fire a professor who has been disciplined for sexual misconduct but has retained his teaching position.

The demand first made headlines on January 10, when one alleged victim posted an audio recording (in Chinese) to social media. The clip features a conversation between her and a member of the school’s discipline committee in which she asks why classes taught by Yáo Shùnxī 姚舜熙, who was found violating policies against sexual misconduct, were on the course schedule again.

In June 2019, dozens of students filed a collective complaint against Yao, accusing him of multiple instances of sexual harassment, selling students’ artworks without their permission, taking bribes, and fabricating allegations against other instructors at the school.

The professor had previously been suspended for a year after a university investigation found he dated a student. But at the end of the year, Yao returned to his position, was promoted to full professor, and became the director of his department.

For details, please click through to SupChina. For more on China’s struggling but still fighting #MeToo movement, see our SupChina Signal explainer.