A mop to sweep away one’s sexual harasser

Society & Culture

A video of a woman confronting her boss over alleged sexual harassment has gone viral on the Chinese internet.

Allegedly fed up with receiving unsolicited lewd messages from her boss, a woman in Heilongjiang decided to get a colleague to film her thrashing her harasser with a mop. She uploaded the video to Weibo, where the clip has gone viral and caused the man to lose his job.

The 14-minute video (in Chinese) starts with the young woman storming into an office and hurling a bucket of water at a middle-aged man sitting at his desk. She yells a series of expletives at the man, who sits there and takes it. Visibly worked up, the woman then grabs a mop and repeatedly jabs the man’s head with it, accusing him of sending inappropriate messages to her. The woman also calls the cops.

The man seems humiliated, covering his face with his hands and begging for the woman’s forgiveness. At one point, he attempts to defend himself by claiming that the messages were meant to be a joke. “Is it necessary for you to overreact like this?” he says, to which the woman replies with more profanities, telling him to “shut his mouth.”

The clip ends with the woman bringing a chair to the room and sitting across from the man. “I won’t leave today until this is settled,” she says to him.

According to Chinese news reports, the man in the video, surnamed Wang, was the deputy director of the poverty alleviation department in the local government of Shihua, a city in northeastern Heilongjiang province. The woman, surnamed Zhou, worked at the same bureau and was one of several women who was harassed by Wang.

Perhaps because Wang admitted wrongdoing on camera, he was swiftly dismissed (in Chinese) for “violating Communist Party regulations.” Police in Suihua said (in Chinese) that four days before the incident, Zhou had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Wang. An investigation into Wang’s alleged sexual misconduct is currently ongoing.

As the video made the rounds on the Chinese internet, social media users rallied to Zhou’s side, praising her for “taking matters into her own hands” and denouncing Wang as a “disgrace.” Some feared that Zhou face criminal charges for breaking public security laws, but local officials announced they would not punish Zhou — on the grounds that she was “mentally ill,” a judgment that has attracted its own fair share of criticism on social media.

Some people argued that even if Zhou had mental issues, in no way would that excuse Wang’s behavior. They also demanded to know the severity and scope of Wang’s sexual misconduct.