Sexual harassment defined for the first time in Beijing

The Beijing News. August 2005: Miss Li was sexually harassed by a couple of men in an underground tunnel in Qianmen

The 11th session of the Standing Committee of the thirteenth National People's Congress of Beijing this year was held yesterday. Today The Beijing News had a four page special on the event.

The session had four main topics, which included Beijing town and country planning, laws for safe production and additions to Women's Rights Protection Law. The Beijing News wrote about the latter re-draft.

There is also an interesting section about upping the retirement age for women to 60, like men, instead of 55. China Daily has a prominent translation, and The Beijing News ran with the case study of China Women's News (中国妇女报), whose employees are 60% women. On April 8th the newspaper had a meeting to discuss whether they could pass a regulation that said that everyone - men and women - would retire at the same age. This bill was passed and this year 6 out of the seven women at retirement age would stay on until 60 - they were all quite high-level cadres, reported The Beijing News, and that promotions for other employees would not be affected.

The Law for the Protection of Women's Rights (special): Text messages listed as a means of sexual harassment

by Wen Ru (温薷) / TBN

Using a mobile phone to send "yellow [pornographic] material" can possibly constitute as sexual harassment now. Yesterday morning, in Beijing new additions were made to the law for the Protection of Women's Rights; now language, letters, pictures, electronic information, and physical conduct can all be cause for sexual harassment towards women. This is the first time that Beijing has defined the situations in which sexual harassment can happen in Beijing.

It is understood that "electronic information" basically means text messaging. The specific dividing line [of what is considered sexual harassment] will be decided during real situations. The director of the Law Department in Beijing Zhou Jidong (周继东) said that these actions were taken so that women will have a better idea of self-protection.

Also added into the draft was the responsibility of the work place in preventing sexual harassment. Zhou said this indicated measures such as fitting CCTV cameras in public places like elevators, and putting in transparent windows in places of business such as in KTV bars. The next step would be for the government to refine the regulations for different industries.

Case Study
9 pornographic text messages resulted in 1,000 yuan compensation

In March 2004, a Beijing court declared a verdict for its first case of sexual harassment by text message. Because he sent 9 pornographic text messages to the wife of his colleague, the Wangjing Court ruled the that Mr Qi, a taxi driver, had sexually harassed Mrs Yan and would pay 1,000 yuan as well as apologize.

The judge decided that Mr Qi had an intentional sexual purpose towards Mrs Yan and went against Mrs Yan's will, had sent obscene and threatening text messages that constituted sexual harassment, damaging her reputation and taking away her dignity. For this he should held legally responsible.

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There are currently 3 Comments for Sexual harassment defined for the first time in Beijing.

Comments on Sexual harassment defined for the first time in Beijing

Very pleased to hear that sexual harassment is getting a workable definition in China.

Next on my list of pet-peeves:

When are China employers going to be fined and/or prosecuted for running want-ads that specify only a man or a woman -- often of a certain age -- may apply for a job that could clearly be held by either?

I will never forget one day when I was working for "Manager" magazine (经理人), formerly based in Shenzhen, now based in Beijing. The female HR head showed me an ad for "Sales Manager," which stipulated that all applicants must be male.

I told her that was ridiculous. Take that out, I suggested, and insert a meaningful requirement instead, e.g., "Applicant must show proof of average monthly ad sales of RMB500,000" or something to that effect.

She refused to drop the reference to "male applicants only."

When I insisted, she argued that my attitude was "Western" and inconsistent with the way Chinese society operates.

I told her that such an ad would be illegal in Hong Kong or Taiwan, since it is sexist. Are HK and Taiwan "Chinese societies," I queried.

The ad ran with no changes.

Bruce: Good for you. How bizarre that the HR head herself was female, and saw nothing (blatantly) disgusting about deliberately limiting the position to male applicants...

Big deal, they'll just run ads with no gender preference but won't hire the other gender like it's done everywhere else, takes longer but the same difference.

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