TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – In a potential blow to the #MeToo motion in China, a younger man and a younger lady had been convicted of defaming a distinguished Chinese language journalist for publishing a narrative accusing him of sexual misconduct.
A courtroom within the japanese metropolis of Hangzhou dominated on Tuesday that the proof offered by former journalists Zou Sicong and He Qian towards Deng Fei “was not adequate to permit somebody to firmly imagine with none doubt that what was described truly occurred.”
The courtroom ordered He and Zou to pay 11,712 yuan ($ 1,813) in damages. The couple plan to enchantment the ruling.
The case was based mostly on an article written by He that Zou posted on-line in 2018, during which she alleged Deng lured her right into a lodge room in 2009 to debate story concepts, then stripped off her garments whereas making an attempt to kiss and contact her.
She mentioned that on the time, she was a 21-year-old intern at a information journal the place Deng was a chief reporter.
The article got here amid a wave of accusations when younger ladies in China went public with their tales of sexual assault and misconduct as a part of the worldwide #MeToo motion.
Nonetheless, the motion has struggled to achieve traction in China, the place politics, the humanities and the company world stay overwhelmingly male-dominated. Accusations introduced each publicly and anonymously towards a couple of dozen males in industries starting from the media to academia have sparked a backlash, and since 2018, at the very least six males have filed defamation fits towards their accuser or the individual. which helped publicize the indictment.
Deng denied the accusation and wrote on his Wechat microblog that he had “by no means accomplished something so silly or so dangerous.” He efficiently requested to maintain the main points of the case out of the general public file to guard the privateness of third events who may be talked about.
“I did not also have a probability to seek out the related proof to show my innocence, and moreover, since 10 years have handed, I do not even bear in mind this one who mentioned he had solely seen me as soon as,” Deng wrote.
All through the method, Zou and He mentioned they confronted a better burden of proof below Chinese language legislation. Though China allowed sexual misconduct as a floor for lawsuits in 2019, the definition of such harassment stays unclear and only a few circumstances are filed. Many have been prosecuted in courtroom as labor disputes or below legal guidelines to guard public status.
Tuesday’s resolution may deter others from submitting studies of sexual misconduct sooner or later, the defendants mentioned.
“This quantities to telling somebody who was humiliated, who was injured, that if they do not have audio or video recordings of the occasion, then they’d higher hurry up and shut their mouths,” mentioned Zou and He is lawyer Xu Kai, it is a assertion. written assertion. “The courtroom had positioned all the burden of proof on Zou Sicong and He Qian.”
“If we had the surveillance footage and the police report again then after which in courtroom I advised Deng Fei this, then we must be in his place because the prosecutor,” Zou mentioned. “This may undoubtedly have a chilling impact.”
Whereas the trial was a setback, she mentioned, she nonetheless has hope for the transfer.
“I need to understand how far we will go together with the present authorized system,” he mentioned.
Deng didn’t reply to messages left on his social media accounts.
Zhou Xiaoxuan, the face of one in every of China’s most distinguished #MeToo circumstances, mentioned he didn’t view the ruling as a defeat. “It was very courageous then for He Qian to talk about this below her actual title. She did this for the rights of different ladies. ”
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