#MeToo: Chinese Court Dismisses Case of Sexual Harassment Against Zhu Jun

Zhu Jun
A court in China’s Beijing has thrown out a case of sexual harassment brought against one of the country’s most famous TV hosts, Zhu Jun due to lack of evidence.

The plaintiff, Zhou Xiaoxuan, also Xianzi, had stated that the host forcibly groped and kissed her back in 2014 when she was an intern. This case helped in igniting the country’s #MeToo movement and led to an increased awareness of women’s rights.

Chinese court dismisses case against Zhu Jun

Zhou Xiaoxuan first came forward with her claims against Zhu in 2018 in an online essay. After the piece went viral, several women came forward to share their own experiences of sexual harassment. Zhou launched legal action against the actor cum host the same year. The latter, however, denied all claims.

A final hearing took place on Tuesday. Haidian district court in Beijing released a brief statement saying that it has dismissed the case because the woman’s evidence was “insufficient to prove that Zhu engaged in sexual harassment” against her. Zhu is yet to comment on the matter but Zhou has said in a written statement that she will appeal. She also addressed her supporters, many of whom gathered outside the court on Tuesday night. She opened up about the exhaustion and disappointment she faced in a legal battle that attracted national scrutiny.

In a video clip posted online, she said tearfully, “I feel I cannot do anything anymore… these last three years of my life have been so tough, I can’t do another three years.”

The 28-year-old faces a separate lawsuit brought by Zhu, for damaging his reputation and mental well-being. Darius Longarino, a Chinese Law expert told the BBC that the result proved how sexual harassment or assault survivors in China “face a steep, almost insurmountable, uphill climb in court”. This happens particularly if they lack “hard” evidence, for example, video recordings of the incident, such as in the case of Zhou. In such cases, Chinese courts place the responsibility of providing proof on the shoulders of plaintiffs. This makes it difficult for survivors to attain justice and deters them from speaking up.

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