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China police makes woman rethink sexual harassment complaint on TV star

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zhu jun cctvCCTV via
Weibo

  • A woman accused Zhu Jun, a famous Chinese state TV
    presenter, of sexual misconduct in 2014.
  • But police suggested that she drop the case because he
    had a “positive influence” on society, she said.
  • This incident took place in 2014, but the story only
    came out earlier this week.
  • More than a dozen women have made misconduct
    allegations against Chinese public figures this week, part of
    the global movement known as #MeToo.
  • China has tried to mute dozens of women sharing their
    stories in the past.

Chinese police suggested that a woman drop her case against a
well-known state TV presenter because he had too much “positive
influence” on society, according to the woman who made the claim.

The woman, then an intern at the state-run China Central
Television (CCTV) network, detailed her allegations on Thursday
against presenter Zhu Jun in a 3,000-character essay on Weibo,
China’s microblogging platform.

She did not give her name.

According to her account, the incident started when she joined a
fellow intern to deliver fruits to Zhu’s dressing room before the
taping of a show — a pre-show ritual at the network. The other
intern then had to leave unexpectedly, leaving the woman alone
with Zhu, she wrote.

“Zhu Jun started talking about all the power he wields, including
‘letting me stay on with the network,’ and when I had no
response, he spoke more and more excitedly, taking his clothes
off and trying to harass me, with no care for my resistances.

“Luckily, the situation happened really quickly, and before I
could even let out a huge shout, the episode’s guest arrived, and
I left.”


zhu jun china cctv spring festival gala
Zhu Jun and his
co-presenters at CCTV’s annual Spring Festival Gala, which
celebrates Chinese New Year.

CCTV/YouTube

The woman said she immediately reported the incident to the
police, who she said spent the entire evening collecting her
statement and surveillance footage of the incident taken from the
office, taking her fingerprints, and even drawing her blood (“I
don’t know why”).

But when she returned to the police station the next day, the
officer previously in charge of collecting her statement said he
was no longer responsible for the case, and handed her over to
two other officers instead.

Here’s her account:

“Then two middle-aged policemen, who seemed to be of a senior
level, said I had to think about Zhu Jun’s role as a host of
‘Spring Festival Gala’ [an annual Chinese New Year program] and
CCTV presenter, who had a ‘positive influence’ on society, and
that I shouldn’t destroy his image.

“They also told me that they had already sent their colleague to
tell my parents, who are civil servants, about this. They said I
should think about them, and that for their sake I should not let
this case blow up.”

She said that her internship supervisor also persuaded her to
drop the case, saying that it could impact their career.

Here are screenshots of her statement in full (in
Chinese):

Although the statement was undated, The
New York Times reported
that it took place in 2014, noting in
its story that it had spoken to the woman on the phone.

The alleged victim ended up getting a police warning, though she
did not give details.

She said: “Because I was feeling so dejected, and because I
didn’t want my parents to worry, I grew more hopeless about the
case to the extent that I stopped wanting anything to do with the
police.

“To make sure I wouldn’t discuss the case later, the police also
didn’t tell me how their investigation was going. Now I don’t
even know if it’s still being investigated.”


CCTV China
CCTV’s headquarters in
Beijing.

ChinaFotoPress /
Getty


The woman’s story is one of many in recent days detailing
complaints against prominent Chinese journalists, academics, and
charity chairmen. More than a dozen Chinese women have detailed
their own accusations in open letters posted on social media
platforms, according to The New York Times.

In an open letter posted on Wednesday, an anonymous woman also
accused Zhang Wen, a well-known journalist and academic, of
raping her.

According to the letter,
reported by the news site Sixth Tone
, Zhang visited her and
said: “You will never get away from being my woman… I have been
a journalist for over a decade, and I know countless people in
the industry.”

Zhang has since acknowledged the incident, but claimed that it
was consensual.


china womanFRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

The #MeToo movement has been particularly slow-moving in China

State-run media has tried to deny the existence of sexual
misconduct in the country, and tech companies have tried
censoring all mentions of #MeToo on its platforms.

Shortly after The New York Times published its Harvey Weinstein
expose, the state-operated China Daily ran
an editorial
 claiming that Chinese men
never behave inappropriately toward women.

Earlier this year, hundreds
of social media posts
 including the words
#MeToo were also deleted by censors. It’s not clear whether those
posts were censored by social networks voluntarily, or at the
behest of the government, which keeps
a close watch
.

As of Friday afternoon, all recent mentions of Zhu’s name had
been scrubbed on Weibo. The most recent post about him that
Business Insider found was from July 20 introducing one of his
previous TV appearances.

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