China’s Zhou Xiaoxuan loses appeal in landmark #MeToo case

China's Zhou Xiaoxuan loses appeal in landmark #MeToo case
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A Beijing court on Wednesday dealt a major blow to China’s suppressed #MeToo movement, rejecting an appeal by a woman whose harassment allegations against a TV host inspired dozens of others to come forward about assaults against them.

In a closed process, the court said it “dismissed” 29-year-old Zhou Xiaoxuan’s appeal against an earlier decision dismissing his claims for lack of sufficient evidence“Reuters” reported on this.

Zhou sued Zhu Jun, the star host of state-run CCTV, for emotional harm after he accused her of holding hands and forcibly kissing him during an internship at the channel in 2014.

He first accused Zhu of stalking in 2018 on the popular Chinese blogging service Weibo, using the online alias Xianzi. Zhu denied the allegations and filed a defamation suit against Zhou.

But her account ignited a firestorm in China and encouraged countless other women to share their stories of sexual harassment publicly.

A Beijing court dismissed the landmark #MeToo case because authorities censored the discussion

In recent years, Chinese authorities have taken some steps strengthen laws against sexual violence – but the country’s women’s rights movement continues to come under fire, which some officials argue is a tool used by Western powers to destabilize China. As a result, victims of sexual harassment in China often filed complaints, worried that they might avoid a public backlash, rights activists say.

Zhou first brought his case to the Hadian People’s Court, complaining under the “personal rights” law, which covers complaints about his personal body and health. But in 2020, China passed something new Civil Code was aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace – and Zhou’s lawyers then asked for a new framework for her case.

Still, the court ruled in 2021 that he had not met his burden of proof. He vowed to appeal his case despite the growing emotional toll of the trial.

“I don’t think I can do anything anymore,” Zhou said outside the courthouse after his case was dismissed last year. “I can’t do this for another three years.”

Britain ahead of Wednesday’s ruling watchman Zhou’s legal team has focused on gathering more evidence, including surveillance footage and police transcripts of interviews with his parents, after reporting the incident, the newspaper said.

“I am deeply disappointed,” Zhou told the Guardian. “But maybe at this stage and in a situation like this, my losing the battle might make me think more about the real difficulty of being a woman in China today.”

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