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How Did #MeToo Get Started In China? Not Even Government Censorship Can Silence It

Thursday 11 January 2018, by siawi3


How Did #MeToo Get Started In China? Not Even Government Censorship Can Silence It

South China Morning Post/YouTube

By Sarah Friedmann

9.01.18 a day ago

The #MeToo movement, in which women have bravely come forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse and harassment, has dominated conversation in the United States and much of Europe in recent months. The movement has been slower to catch on in China, though, where social and political movements are often suppressed. However, the tide is slowly beginning to turn, as some women in China are launching their own #MeToo movement, called #WoYeShi, and making history with their activism.

As The Guardian reported on Tuesday, China’s authoritarian government — and the censorship that comes along with it — has unfortunately somewhat hampered the ability of the #MeToo movement to gain traction in China, despite sexual misconduct being a widespread problem. Indeed, as the South China Morning Post reported, a 2015 survey of over 65,000 men and 62,000 women revealed that 66 percent of men and 80 percent of women reported that they had been sexually harassed. Moreover, around 50 percent of the women and 25 percent of the men surveyed had never told anyone they had been harassed, with even fewer (in the single digits) reporting the incidents to police.

Moreover, activists have noted that, despite the pervasiveness of the harassment problem, a Chinese #MeToo movement has faced substantial hurdles in gaining momentum due to government concerns about political and social unrest. As Leta Hong Fincher, an expert in China’s feminist movement, told The Guardian:
There is a history of the Chinese government being really worried about political upheaval outside its borders affecting its own population and there is no question whatsoever that the #MeToo movement is seen by the authorities as potentially posing a threat.

The Asian Feminist @theasianfmnst

#MeToo? Silence, shame and the cost of speaking out about sexual harassment in China
Chinese women tell of police inaction, crackdowns on activism and pressure both from society at large and those closest to them
10:58 AM - Dec 9, 2017