Sam Harris on the Fallout of the MeToo Movement with Masha Gessen
The MeToo movement has been particularly slow-moving in China
CCTV via Weibo
- A woman accused Zhu Jun, a famous Chinese state TV presenter, of sexual misconduct in 2014.
- But police suggested that she drop the case because he had a "positive influence" on society, she said.
- This incident took place in 2014, but the story only came out earlier this week.
- More than a dozen women have made misconduct allegations against Chinese public figures this week, part of the global movement known as #MeToo.
- China has tried to mute dozens of women sharing their stories in the past.
Chinese police suggested that a woman drop her case against a well-known state TV presenter because he had too much "positive influence" on society, according to the woman who made the claim.
The woman, then an intern at the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) network, detailed her allegations on Thursday against presenter Zhu Jun in a 3,000-character essay on Weibo, China's microblogging platform.
She did not give her name.
According to her account, the incident started when she joined a fellow intern to deliver fruits to Zhu's dressing room before the taping of a show — a pre-show ritual at the network. The other intern then had to leave unexpectedly, leaving the woman alone with Zhu, she wrote.
"Zhu Jun started talking about all the power he wields, including 'letting me stay on with the network,' and when I had no response, he spoke more and more excitedly, taking his clothes off and trying to harass me, with no care for my resistances.
"Luckily, the situation happened really quickly, and before I could even let out a huge shout, the episode's guest arrived, and I left."
Zhu Jun and his co-presenters at CCTV's annual Spring Festival Gala, which celebrates Chinese New Year. CCTV/YouTube
The woman said she immediately reported the incident to the police, who she said spent the entire evening collecting her statement and surveillance footage of the incident taken from the office, taking her fingerprints, and even drawing her blood ("I don't know why").
But when she returned to the police station the next day, the officer previously in charge of collecting her statement said he was no longer responsible for the case, and handed her over to two other officers instead.
Here's her account:
"Then two middle-aged policemen, who seemed to be of a senior level, said I had to think about Zhu Jun's role as a host of 'Spring Festival Gala' [an annual Chinese New Year program] and CCTV presenter, who had a 'positive influence' on society, and that I shouldn't destroy his image.
"They also told me that they had already sent their colleague to tell my parents, who are civil servants, about this. They said I should think about them, and that for their sake I should not let this case blow up."
She said that her internship supervisor also persuaded her to drop the case, saying that it could impact their career.
Here are screenshots of her statement in full (in Chinese):
Although the statement was undated, The New York Times reported that it took place in 2014, noting in its story that it had spoken to the woman on the phone.
The alleged victim ended up getting a police warning, though she did not give details.
She said: "Because I was feeling so dejected, and because I didn't want my parents to worry, I grew more hopeless about the case to the extent that I stopped wanting anything to do with the police.
"To make sure I wouldn't discuss the case later, the police also didn't tell me how their investigation was going. Now I don't even know if it's still being investigated."
CCTV's headquarters in Beijing. ChinaFotoPress / Getty
The woman's story is one of many in recent days detailing complaints against prominent Chinese journalists, academics, and charity chairmen. More than a dozen Chinese women have detailed their own accusations in open letters posted on social media platforms, according to The New York Times.
In an open letter posted on Wednesday, an anonymous woman also accused Zhang Wen, a well-known journalist and academic, of raping her.
According to the letter, reported by the news site Sixth Tone, Zhang visited her and said: "You will never get away from being my woman... I have been a journalist for over a decade, and I know countless people in the industry."
Zhang has since acknowledged the incident, but claimed that it was consensual.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images
The #MeToo movement has been particularly slow-moving in China
State-run media has tried to deny the existence of sexual misconduct in the country, and tech companies have tried censoring all mentions of #MeToo on its platforms.
Shortly after The New York Times published its Harvey Weinstein expose, the state-operated China Daily ran an editorial claiming that Chinese men never behave inappropriately toward women.
Earlier this year, hundreds of social media posts including the words #MeToo were also deleted by censors. It's not clear whether those posts were censored by social networks voluntarily, or at the behest of the government, which keeps a close watch.
As of Friday afternoon, all recent mentions of Zhu's name had been scrubbed on Weibo. The most recent post about him that Business Insider found was from July 20 introducing one of his previous TV appearances.
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