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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.

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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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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

Massive Fire Breaks Out Near Qipan Mountain in Shenyang

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In the afternoon of April 17, local time, a massive fire broke out near Qipan Mountain in the city of Shenyang in China’s northeast Liaoning Province.

Videos circulating on Chinese social media show how thick clouds of black smoke could be seen from a distance.

News sources on Weibo say the fire broke out earlier in the afternoon and was soon spreading due to strong winds in the area.

People’s Daily reports that over 1300 people are currently involved in a major operation to clear the area and fight the fire, including some 300 people from the fire department and 500 military staff.

The hashtag “Shenyang Qipan Mountain on Fire” (#沈阳棋盘山着火#) was one of the top trending topics on Chinese social media by Wednesday night.

Qipan Mountain is the biggest natural scenic zone in Shenyang, covering 190 square kilometers. According to China Daily, the zone includes plant and animal reserves, a water sports area, a ski area, a hunting area, and a villa area.

At time of writing, there are no sources confirming what caused the fire and if it is under control yet.

The nearby Shenyang Zoo, however, did confirm on Weibo that the fire had not spread to its area and that the necessary emergency measures were taken to protect the wellbeing of their animals.

Many netizens expressed their concerns over the safety of the animals earlier in the day. Photos of animals being burnt in the fire were refuted and labeled as ‘fake news.’

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

Online Controversy over Mandatory GPS Tracking Smartwatches for Chinese Street Cleaners

Being a street cleaner in 2019 China now involves wearing a mandatory smartwatch with GPS tracking.

Gabi Verberg

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Image via Sina.com

The times of chatting with the neighbors, taking a break, or doing some shopping during work hours are seemingly over for Nanjing’s street cleaners now that their every move is monitored through a special smartwatch. News of the mandatory GPS tracking bracelets for sanitary workers triggered public outcry earlier this month. But it’s not just Nanjing street cleaners that are subjected to this policy.

Earlier this month, the introduction of smartwatches tracking the movements of street cleaners in Nanjing attracted the attention of Chinese netizens and international media after the new policy was made public on April 3rd.

In March of this year, the sanitation department in the Hexi area of Nanjing, Jiangsu, started a pilot with a smartwatch that sanitation workers are obliged to wear. The watch has a built-in real-time GPS tracking system, allowing the Nanjing Hexi Smart Sanitation Center to monitor workers’ movements.

In a short video published by Toutiao News, a spokesperson of the Smart Sanitation Command Center* explained that the smartwatch currently allows the company to assess the workers in three ways: they can register workers’ attendance, collect statistics of workers leaving their designated work area, and report on workers that remain in the same position exceeding the allowed amount of time.

Sanitation workers also commented on their new working system. One person interviewed said: “Why wouldn’t I be allowed to have a half-an-hour break? Look, the street is all clean, there is nothing to be cleaned up. They are crazy for making us move up and down the street for no reason.”

Street cleaners also said that the system would automatically report them if they had been in the same spot for more than twenty minutes. The smartwatch would then subsequently encourage them to move, calling out “Jiayou! Jiayou!” (“Come on! Come on!”).

That particular function was reportedly removed shortly after public outcry on the policy.

On Weibo, the hashtag “Smartwatch Automatically Yells ‘Jiayou'” (#智能手表自动喊加油#) received over 2,5 million views, with the majority of commenters strongly rejecting the new approach.

Most commenters on this issue argued that the implementation of the smartwatch is “immoral” and that the Nanjing workers are “treated as criminals.” Many others also pointed out that the workers, often senior citizens, should be able to rest for more than 20 minutes.

In light of the new policy, many people on social media also referred to the infamous fictional character Zhou “Bapi” (周扒皮). In the novel The Killing Wind, this landlord Zhou would stick his head into the henhouse stirring up the roosters to wake his laborers up earlier, so they would start working.

Some netizens came with an alternative solution, suggesting that the leaders of the company should wear the smartwatches themselves instead.

While the controversial function was eliminated, the GPS tracking function still stands.

Nanjing is not the first city to introduce GPS tracking smartwatches for its sanitary workers. Other cities where the same policy has been introduced are, for example, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Qingdao, according to Chinese media outlet Global Times.

In the summer of 2018, various Chinese media outlets already reported about the introduction of smartwatches for street cleaners in Guangzhou. At the time, the smartwatch policy was described as an innovative way to solve staff deployment and management problems, giving team leaders more insights into the real-time position of the street cleaners.

Whether or not the smartwatches do indeed improve work efficiency of street cleaners is still unclear, but there are no indications that the smartwatch policy will be changed at this point.

The tough work conditions of Chinese street cleaners, who work long hours and receive minimal pay, regularly become an issue of debate on Chinese social media. Besides praising the hard work of China’s public cleaners, Chinese netizens often express their sympathy for the bad circumstances under which street sweepers have to work.

By Gabi Verberg

* (南京河西建环”智能环卫”综合调度监控指挥中心 Nanjing Hexi Jianhuan “Intelligent Sanitation” Integrated Dispatching Monitoring Command Center)

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©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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