Chinese court rejects appeal in landmark sexual harassment case

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A Beijing court dealt a serious blow to China’s #MeToo movement on Wednesday, rejecting an appeal by a woman whose harassment claims against a TV host had inspired dozens of others to come forward about their assaults.

In a closed door test, the The court said She “rejected” 29-year-old Zhou Xiaoxuan’s appeal against a previous decision rejecting her claims. Due to insufficient evidenceReuters reported.

Zhu sued Zhu Jun, a star presenter at the state-owned CCTV broadcaster, for emotional damages in 2014 while interning at the channel.

She first came forward in 2018, accusing Zhu of harassment on Weibo, a popular Chinese blogging service, using the online alias Xianzi. Zhou has denied the allegations and has filed a defamation suit against Zhou.

But her account ignited a firestorm in China and helped countless other women publicly share their own stories of sexual abuse.

Beijing court dismisses landmark #MeToo case as authorities censor discussion

In recent years, Chinese authorities have taken some steps Strengthen laws But the country’s women’s rights movement has been under constant fire — against sexual exploitation — with some officials claiming it is a tool used by Western nations to destabilize China. As a result, victims of sexual harassment in China often avoid filing complaints, fearing a public backlash, rights advocates say.

Zhou first brought her case to the Hadian People’s Court and filed a complaint under the “Personality Rights” law, which covers complaints related to a person’s body and health. But in 2020, China passed a new one Civil Code Aimed at curbing sexual harassment in the workplace — and Zhou’s lawyers later asked that her claim be considered under the new framework.

Still, the court ruled in 2021 that she had not met her burden of proof. She vowed to appeal her case, though she said the proceedings are taking an emotional toll.

“I don’t think I can do anything more,” Zhou said outside court after her case was dismissed last year. “I can’t do it for another three years.”

Before Wednesday’s decision, Britain’s parents The newspaper reported that Zhou’s legal team is focused on gathering more evidence, including surveillance footage and police transcripts of interviews with her parents after she reported the incident.

“Deep down, I’m very disappointed,” Zhou told the Guardian. “But perhaps at this point and in such circumstances, the fact that I lost the battle may reflect more on the real difficulty of being a woman in China today.”

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