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“Go and Wear Your Miniskirts!” – Shenzhen Police Fights Sexual Harassment on Public Transport, Protects Freedom of Dress

“Go and wear your beautiful miniskirts! Perverts, we will catch you!”, Shenzhen police states.

Manya Koetse

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A strong statement by Shenzhen police that women should not be afraid to wear miniskirts in public transport has gone viral on Chinese social media. The online campaign “Wear your skirts, we’ll catch the perverts” breaks with old ideas that place the burden of public safety and sexual assault on women.

Over the past two weeks, the hashtag “Still Go and Wear Your Miniskirt” (#小裙子 你尽管去穿#) has received almost 20 million views on Sina Weibo.

The phrase became popular on Chinese social media after a published statement from the Shenzhen Public Safety Office in early August on its public WeChat account, in which they made clear: “Go and wear your beautiful miniskirts! Perverts, we will catch you!” (“世上好看的小裙子,你尽管去穿!地铁上的色狼,我们来抓!”)

Since late June of this year, Shenzhen’s local public security office has initiated a crackdown on sexual harassment in public transport. In a period of 4-5 weeks, they have succeeded in arresting 29 suspects for indecent behavior, of which 20 were arrested on the spot by plainclothes officers surveilling the subway.

Sexual harassment on China’s subways is a long-standing problem, especially during the rush hours when people are squeezed together on the trains.

Men secretly filming under women’s skirts has also become a specific problem since the rising popularity of smartphones in China. Every year before summer, social media users warn each other to be extra vigilant when wearing skirts in public transport or on escalators, because offenders find creative ways to get some under-skirt footage.

These problems even led to the introduction of China’s first women-only subway cars in 2017. Many social media commenters at the time, however, did not see the segregation of male and female passengers as a solution to the problem.

An online poll at the time showed that 59.7% of respondents opposed the measure, saying it opposed gender equality and even calling it a form of sex-based discrimination.

The crackdown on sex offenders on China’s subways appears to receive more support on Chinese social media.

 

“[This is] a direct rebuttal of the traditional idea that the burden should be placed on women to protect themselves.”

 

Chinese state media outlet Xinhua called the Shenzhen police statement a “direct rebuttal of the traditional idea that the burden should be placed on women to protect themselves.”

Author Linzi Lu (林子璐) writes: “In the past, after sexual misconduct, indecent behavior or assault took place, some safe travel reminders to the public would warn women not to travel alone at night or not to wear revealing clothing,” describing how these reminders, although supposedly well-intended, place the responsibility on women to take care of their own security, instead of focusing on the offenders who put their safety at risk.

Lu further adds that the efforts of the Shenzhen public security team are a valuable learning example for others, breaking with old ideas about victim blaming (受害者有罪论).

In 2016, a brutal assault on a woman at a Beijing hotel sent shock waves through the country as the attack was captured on security cameras and showed that bystanders did not intervene to help the victim. In response, state media spread infosheets on Weibo telling women not to go out “alone in dark streets” and not to open the door for strangers.

In Europe, a similar response from authorities triggered controversy when the mayor of Cologne warned women to “keep men at arm’s length” to prevent sexual assault, after scores of women were sexually abused and mugged in the city during new year celebrations.

“Isn’t it the job of the police to make sure we [women] can safely go out?” one netizen responded at the time.

 

“I’m rooting for Shenzhen police, even if I don’t wear miniskirts myself!”

 

By now, the Shenzhen “miniskirt campaign” has received the praise of thousands of netizens on Weibo. One person (@潇洒帅气刘栋琛) wrote: “The distorted idea that women attract being assaulted because of what they wear should not become an established idea, nor should it be propagated. Let’s go by the law and catch the perverts, building on a safe and harmonious society.”

“I’m rooting for Shenzhen police, even if I don’t wear miniskirts myself!”, another commenter wrote.

“I am almost moved to tears by this [Shenzhen police] statement,” another female Weibo user said, receiving over 50,000 likes.

Other female social media users wrote: “Through this campaign, all women can feel safer. It’s not us who make the bad people bad, it’s in the nature of those people.”

A male commenter said: “Both men and women should be able to wear whatever style of clothes they want to wear. It’s a shameful rhetoric to say that someone, who is fully innocent, can ‘provoke’ those who are obscene.”

On Twitter, the well-known Shenzhen tech maker Naomi Wu (@realsexycyborg) showed some pride in the recent measures by local authorities, writing: “We’re a bit different than other cities ?‍♀️?” (see embedded tweet below).

This summer, Shenzhen is not the only city cracking down on sex offenders on public transport. Among other cities, Beijing also has an active team of plainclothes police officers who patrol the subway network each day to prevent the sexual assault or harassment of women.

Through the official Shenzhen police Weibo account (@深圳公安), the Shenzhen team stated that they were happy about the attention their crackdown campaign has received online: “We’ve hit the top-trending search lists,” they wrote: “It’s a bit overwhelming. But we will keep on doing what we do!”

By Manya Koetse


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©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    Lorenzo Dikian

    August 16, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    It’s really good decision!

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China Local News

Sudden Ground Collapse at Metro Station in Xiamen

A sudden collapse occurred near Xiamen’s Lucuo station, just two weeks after a similar incident took place in Guangzhou.

Manya Koetse

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First published

In the evening of December 12, Xiamen’s Lvcuo (Lǚcuò 吕厝) metro station became a breaking news topic in Chinese media after a ground collapse incident occurred at a nearby intersection, followed by a major flood in the Xiamen subway.

Xiamen, Fujian Province, is one of China’s major coastal cities. According to Xiamen Metro News, the collapse happened at 21:52 local time.

At time of writing, rescue teams are still investigating the scene. It is unclear if people have been trapped or injured due to the collapse.

An apparent dashcam video shared by Sina News and People’s Daily on Weibo shows the moment right before the sudden collapse.

The video captures how the road is relatively busy at the time of collapsing, and at least one car can be seen crashing into the sinkhole.

Other footage shows that the Xiamen metro line is currently flooded (also see video in this tweet).

The scene of the collapse at 0:10 local time.

The metro station where this incident occurred is relatively new. Xiamen’s metro line was first opened in late December 2017.

Just two weeks ago, another major ground collapse accident occurred at the construction site of a metro line in Guangzhou. Three people remain missing after the incident.

On Thursday night local time, the Xiamen metro collapse was the number one trending topic on social media platform Weibo. Many netizens commenting on the incident express worries about the safety of roads and construction sites in China.

Update (Dec 13): According to the latest Chinese media reports, the drivers of two cars who were at the scene at the moment of the ground collapse have both been recused. One female pedestrian who also fell into the sinkhole is receiving medical treatment..

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

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China Health & Science

No Need for Plague Panic? China’s Trending Plague Outbreak

After the Year of the Pig brought swine flue, some fear the Year of the Rat will bring the ‘rat plague.’

Manya Koetse

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For the past nine days, during which three cases of the plague have been reported in China, the deadly bubonic plague has become a hot topic on Chinese social media.

The topic first made headlines on November 12, when Chinese state media announced that two people, a husband and wife from Inner Mongolia, were transported to Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital for treatment after being diagnosed with the pneumonic plague.

The couple reportedly got sick after eating raw marmot kidney.

A 55-year old hunter from the same region, the Inner Mongolian Xilingol League, was later also diagnosed with bubonic plague after eating wild rabbit meat.

The bubonic plague, also called the ‘Black Death,’ is an infectious disease that is known to have caused one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, killing millions of people in 14th century Europe.

News of the three cases of bubonic plague reminded many of the 2003 SARS panic; an outbreak of SARS in southern China caused over 8000 cases that year.

The World Health Organisation criticized China at the time for covering up the scale of the problem, with officials conceding in the Spring of 2003 that China’s SARs problem was “nearly 10 times worse than had been admitted.”

Current online reports on the bubonic plague in China stress that there is no reason for panic, with a hospital spokesperson confirming that the situation is “under control.”

42 people who are known to have come into contact with the Chinese patients have all been quarantined and were not found to have any symptoms of catching the disease.

Chinese (state) media channels are spreading social media posts this week that mainly emphasize that the plague “can be prevented, controlled, and managed,” and that it can be effectively treated.

“Don’t panic over plague outbreak,” Sina News headlines, with People’s Daily posting on Weibo that, according to the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “there is no need to worry.”

The bubonic plague primarily affects rodents and other animals, with animals – and incidentally humans – usually contracting the infection through insects such as (rat) fleas. This form of plague is highly contagious – can spread through coughing – and could be fatal within days if left untreated (Benedict 1996, 4).

Mammals such as rabbits or marmots, as eaten by the recent Chinese patients, but also rats, squirrels, gerbils, mice, etc., can all harbor the disease.

Although the disease is increasingly rare, and for many is something from the history books, there were still 3248 cases worldwide between 2010 and 2015, leading to 584 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Although Chinese media stress that there is no need to panic over the recent outbreak of the bubonic plague, many netizens still fear an epidemic, making comments such as: “The Year of the Pig brought the [African] swine fever, now the plague is starting just before the Year of the Rat!” (The word for ‘plague’ in Chinese is 鼠疫 shǔyì, literally meaning ‘rat plague’ or ‘mouse plague’).

Others are asking questions such as: “Do we risk the plague more if we have mice in the house?” and “How can we prevent getting it?”

Meanwhile, according to Jiemian News reports, the area in Inner Mongolia where the patients originally contracted the illness is currently under strict control by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture; some roads are closed off, and there’s temperature screening for those taking public transport.

The area has seen four cases of plague over the past decades, the most recent one before this month being in 2004.

Last news on the current three patients was from last Saturday, when it was reported that at least one of the patients is now in stable condition.

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

References

Benedict, Carol Ann. 1996. Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth Plague in Nineteenth Century China. Stanford University Press.

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