Chinese Court Rules Against Woman in First #MeToo Case

A Chinese court on Sept. 14 ruled against a woman, who accused a popular state TV host of sexual harassment, due to insufficient evidence, sending a blow to the #MeToo movement in the country.

The Beijing Haidian District People’s Court said in a judgement in the three-year legal battle that Zhou Xiaoxuan, who became the face of China’s #MeToo movement, did not meet the burden of proof in claiming that CCTV host Zhu Jun sexually harassed her.

Zhou, popularly known as Xianzi, accused Zhu of forcibly kissing her and groping her when she was an intern in 2014. After coming forward in 2018 in a 3,000-long social media post, she inspired other women to share their experiences, sparking the #MeToo movement in China.

Zhou was seeking a public apology from Zhu and 50,000 yuan ($7,765) in damages.

“I told the court today that this incident happened when I was 21, and now I’m 28. In the last three years, because of this legal case, I wasn’t able to do other work. I was very sad and I couldn’t help but cried in the court today,” Zhou told British newspaper The Guardian.

“I can accept all sorts of outcome, but I just want basic procedural justice,” Zhou further said, adding that she and her legal team were deprived of the opportunity to fully put their case forward in court.

Zhou accused the Beijing court of unfair treatment and pledged to file an appeal.

“Failure is not shameful, and I am honored to have stood with you together in the past three years… Thank you very much, everyone, I will definitely appeal,” Zhou wrote on her WeChat social media account, as quoted by The Guardian.

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