torsdag 12. august 2021

China's recent rape scandals are a #MeToo victory, activists say — even if the government won't admit it

Two explosive rape allegations have rocked China in recent weeks, turning a spotlight on the country's stifled #MeToo movement and problems of sexual assault. On Monday, the e-commerce giant Alibaba said it had fired an employee who was accused of sexually assaulting another employee during a business trip. The week before, Beijing police said they had arrested Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu on suspicion of rape, according to a statement.

In both cases, victims had posted their allegations on Chinese social media, which sparked an online furor and prompted police to investigate. Neither Wu nor the Alibaba employee have been charged with any crime. The authorities' swift actions won praise from some online, who pointed to the two cases as an indication of the effective rule of law and criminal justice in China. Yet it raised eyebrows among others, who say it instead highlights how rare it is for survivors to speak out and seek justice.

"It is unsurprising that both cases have drawn such wide attention, given (Kris Wu) and Alibaba's high profile," said Feng Yuan, a feminist scholar and activist. "But this also serves as a reminder that for many other cases of sexual harassment and assault, if the accused are not so famous or influential, (victims) might not have their voices heard at all."