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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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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 Insight

Exchange Student to Be Deported from China for Harassing Young Woman at University

An exchange student studying at the Hebei University of Engineering has been expelled and will soon be deported after harassing a female student.

Manya Koetse

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An exchange student from Pakistan who was studying at the Hebei University of Engineering (河北工程大学) has been expelled and detained after harassing a female student at the same university.

The incident, that is attracting much attention on Chinese social media this week, adds to the wave of recent controversies over the behavior and status of overseas students in mainland China.

On July 31, a female student at the Hebei university filed a police report against a Pakistani student who allegedly harassed her and attempted to forcefully kiss her and touch her breasts.

Screenshots of a supposed WeChat conversation between the exchange student and the female student, in which the man apologizes and claims the interaction is a “requirement for friendship,” are being shared on social media.

According to various reports, the police initially tried to mediate between the two students, which the female student refused.

Together with the school principal, the police then further investigated the case and found ample evidence of harassment after examining the university’s surveillance system.

On August 1st, the Hebei University of Engineering announced that they had expelled the student and that he will be deported from China. The announcement received more than 14,000 reactions and 150,000 ‘likes’ on Weibo.

The student is now detained at the local Public Security Bureau and is awaiting his deportation.

A photo of two officers together with a man in front of the detention center in Handan is circulating on social media in relation to this incident.

At time of writing, the hashtag page “Exchange Student to Be Deported after Molesting Female Student” (#留学生猥亵女学生将被遣送出境#) has been viewed over 310 million times on Weibo.

Among thousands of reactions, there are many who praise the Hebei university for supporting the female student after she reported the exchange student to the police.

“This may not be the best university, but at least they stand behind their students!”, some say, with others calling the university “awesome.”

Many say that the Hebei university should serve as an example for other Chinese universities to follow, with Shandong University being specifically mentioned by Weibo users.

Shandong University was widely criticized earlier this summer for its “buddy exchange program,” which was accused of being a way to arrange Chinese “girlfriends” for male foreign students.

Another incident that is mentioned in relation to this trending story is that of an exchange student who displayed aggressive behavior towards a Chinese police officer in July of this year. The student was not punished for his actions, which sparked anger on Chinese social media.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©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 Local News

Holiday Homework: Take a Picture with Five Foreigners

Is “take a photo with a foreigner” an appropriate homework assignment? This Zhuhai school teacher thinks it is.

Manya Koetse

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Photo via yidianzixun.com

An elementary school in Guangdong’s Zhuhai city has become a target of online banter this week for a special holiday homework assignment given to its pupils.

The school’s English teacher told students to take a picture with five foreigners this holiday. The pupils’ parents were not too happy with this ‘homework’ and questioned its purpose and validity.

In the eyes of many netizens, the assignment is inappropriate as it supposedly teaches pupils to look up to (or ‘worship’) foreigners.

Others think the assignment is simply not practical, saying that Zhuhai does not have that many foreigners walking around and that not all foreigners speak English.

With over 110 million views on the hashtag “Holiday Homework to Take Photo with Five Foreigners” (#暑假作业与五个外国人合影#), the topic has blown up on Weibo.

“Just take a photo with the neighbor and tell them they’re from Singapore,” some people suggested: “Take some photos with Chinese people and say they were from South Korea!”

In an online poll about the issue, initiated by China Daily, nearly 65% of respondents said they did not agree with the assignment.

The school principal responded to the controversy, saying that the assignment was an “optional” one.

The class head also stated that the assignment was not obligatory, but that it was merely meant as an “encouragement” so that students could practice their conversational English by having a short conversation with a foreigner.

Many commenters side with school and condemn all the criticism and banter: “Of course an English teacher would want to tell its pupils to interact with foreigners in English!”

Another person mentions that many Chinese students have high grades in their English exams without actually being able to hold a conversation in English: “Our English education is not focused enough on speaking English.”

“This teaches students to take the initiative to start a conversation in English, what’s not good about it? You’re all too sensitive!”

By Manya Koetse , with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

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

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