The incident was widely condemned internationally after Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai disappeared after accusing former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual harassment. However, about three weeks later, Shuai appeared in a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. Huang Xueqin, who publicly supported a woman who accused a professor of sexual assault, was arrested in September. Wang Jianbing, who helped a woman file a sexual harassment complaint, was also taken into custody.
Like them, there are many other women’s rights activists in China who have been harassed on social media platforms, some of whom have even closed their accounts out of frustration. Peng is not the only woman to face a lot of trouble after being accused of sexual harassment. Similar attempts are made in China to suppress the voices of many activists and victims. Huang Xueqin launched the ‘MeToo’ campaign in China in 2018 to publicly talk about the issue and for the first time take a series of measures, including establishing a civil code to define sexual harassment.
Women should be openly denied rights
However, it also faced stiff opposition from Chinese officials, who immediately stalled the social media campaign fearing it could challenge their grip on power. The campaign against which issues should be placed on the public table has intensified this year. US-based activist Lou Pin said they were openly denying women their legal rights. Pin is still fighting for women’s rights in China.
Women accused of being ‘foreign agents’
How dangerous the #MeToo campaign and women’s rights activism are for Chinese officials is revealed by the fact that they have targeted many activists as a tool of foreign interference. China has mostly targeted activists who are less popular or dominant, and who often work with marginalized groups. Both Huang and Wang have advocated for disadvantaged groups. According to a friend of both the workers, they have been accused of undermining the power of the country.
No news received since arrest
He has also seen a notice sent to Wang’s family in this regard. Police in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were contacted but did not comment on the matter. Both were arrested there. This charge is often used against political dissidents. Huang and Wang’s family have not received any news of them since their arrest.
left social media after online harassment
At the same time, Zhou Xiaosuan, who accused well-known state TV host Zhu Jun of misbehavior, faced harassment on social media and can no longer share anything on her account. Many people on China’s social media platform ‘Weibo’ have been sending him messages like, ‘Get out of China’, ‘foreigners will use you and leave you’ etc.
Zhu said, ‘Now, the situation on social media is such that your activities are completely limited and you can’t keep your word in any way.’ Despite all these harassment, activists say that the ‘MeToo’ campaign has opened a door to bring this issue on the public domain, which cannot be closed now.