First successful sexual harassment lawsuit in Guangzhou

From Netease:



[The 3 photos taken at the year-end party by Miss A’s colleagues which were later used as critical evidence in her lawsuit against the Japanese molester. ]

Miss A worked in a Japanese company. From September 2008, her Japanese supervisor started to sexually harass her by touching her body, like her neck and her waist. After she rejected him, he complained to A that he thinks she is too cool. "I feel extremely stressed at the time and was afraid to go to work."

Miss A worked in a open office. What the accused Japanese supervisor has done to her is seen by the colleagues around. "Some of them took this as a joke, others taught me how to defend myself." She started to have nightmares. "There was time when I was engaged in my work and he suddenly came from behind and put his hand on me. I always trembled from fear."

Many of Miss A’s families and colleagues knew about what her Japanese supervisor was doing to her but all of them persuaded Miss A to put up with it and stay silent. And that’s what A chose to do until the end of 2008 when she couldn’t stand it anymore.

It was the company’s year-end party. Staff in the company took turns to sing on the stage. A was chatting with her colleagues and all of a sudden, the Japanese supervisor came from behind and grabbed her hands and then touched her chest. She started to struggle but he used another hand around her neck. "I couldn’t breathe at the time and begged him to let go of me in Chinese and in Japanese. I even screamed for help. I finally broke loose but he then chased after me around the table. I was so scared that my legs went all weak.

"Then it was his turn to sing. He cried out my name on stage and I was terrified. He spotted me on the stage and came up to me. He tried to hug me, put his hand round my neck and touch my chest. He grabbed me so hard that my arms were black and blue. At the end I could do nothing but held tight to the chair. He tried to drag me away but he couldn’t."

After that terrible night, A cried for two days at home. This time, her families encouraged her to stand up against him. In January 2009, A complained to the general manager and requested that the Japanese supervisor should publish a written apology and the company offer her a guarantee that she will not be harassed again. The company held a meeting with 4 Japanese staff and two Chinese labor union committee members present. But the result was disappointing. The general manager admitted what the offender did was wrong but reclined A’s requests by saying that the accused Japanese touched her body is out of kindness and he drank too much at the party. If he had to make a written apology that would stain his image.

The offender defended himself and said, he touched Miss A in the hope of doing better at work but it just didn’t turn out as he wished, "I apologize for the harm I had done to you. I didn’t consider the difference in the environment we grew up into. I wasn’t being considerate about your feelings."

But what is most disappointing to A is the two Chinese in the labor union who instead of standing up for her, defended the offender and said, "The general manager is very busy, he is condescending himself to hold this meeting for you." One of them even claimed to fire her.

Miss A was later fired. On March 2011, she filed a lawsuit against the offender and the company. With the 3 photos taken by the colleagues as evidence, she finally won the case. The Japanese offender is convicted of sexual harassment.

This is the first successful lawsuit on sexual harassment in Guangzhou. Before it, most of the sexual harassment cases failed for lack of evidence.

The case had triggered a heated discussion among the Chinese netizens. While many condemn the Japanese offender, more denounce the two Chinese labor union committee members as being stooges for the Japanese company.

  1. This is common in China, especially when a company leader or your superior had some alcohol. Usually people will regard it as a kidding.

  2. I dont know…Those above photos are what resulted in a victory for Party A?
    Those photos dont look so incriminating. I have seen worse things happen in government offices in China.

    1. I hope you were being ironic, Michael.

      This is exactly the point: sexual harassment occurs often, but given the lack of awareness of and/or enforcement of such laws–especially when the offender is well-connected–most Chinese will just shrug it off as yet another way they’re abused by the elite and yet another problem they can do little to protect themselves from. People belonging to the ‘elite’ stratum of society then begin to regard this sort of inappropriate behavior as their prerogative, because no one is going to speak up to that “company leader or superior” and tell them that this makes the employee/underling feel uncomfortable, disrespected.

      Note the advice from family (family!) and colleagues to just stay silent and tolerate this treatment. Not exactly encouraging healthy, assertive responses to the problem, are we?

      Also, notice the way the labor union representatives characterize the matter as unimportant: “[the general manager] is condescending himself to meet with you”.

      There’s a reason why this is the first successfully prosecuted sexual harassment case in Guangzhou–the defendant is a foreigner, one of the hated Japanese, no less. Here’s hoping this asshole gets due punishment, and here’s hoping this case helps open up the floodgates so that his ilk, both native and foreign, have to at least think twice before manhandling their subordinates.

      1. Well written, Dr. Jones
        I am well aware of what you are saying and everything you said is true. My only point is that I don’t consider these photos as convincing evidence against the Japanese Boss. This sexual harrassment has been apparantly going on for such a long time and if that is true (which I am pretty sure it is), the girl could have presented much more convincing evidence to win the case. I dont think the Japanese boss should lose based on those photos.

        1. Fair enough. I suppose perception of the photos might be subjective–although it certainly looks like something that would qualify as sexual harassment to me–and I suppose the photos might not be the only evidence she was able to present at court (testimony of witnesses, etc). I’m not really sure how much evidence would be considered “enough” in a case like this.

  3. Funny. Just a few weeks ago, one of my former colleagues–he’s currently teaching at Nanjing Medical University–had to tell off a foreign teacher there (an elderly, fundamentalist man) for very similar manhandling of the students.

    His words on the subject could be paraphrased along the lines of, ‘public, physical displays of affection–especially between genders–are not considered appropriate in Chinese culture. Lay off the students!’

    I suppose my former colleague should take lessons from Chinese bosses and government leaders on what sorts of groping, hugging, and grabbing should be considered “appropriate” in Chinese culture. Just imagine the cultural orientation seminar that could be provided to foreign expats: “How to grope, grab, and hug your female subordinates as they squirm and try in vain to escape!”

    Pro-tip: blame it on the baijiu!

  4. Eww. Why is that digusting Chinaman harassing that woman? I swear, Chinamen have NO respect for women and this is proof! A westerner would never conduct himself like this.

    1. LOL@expatrick i assume you’re in china because you’re illiterate in english? trust me bro, chinese is muuuch harder

      1. F-CK you! How much is the CCP paying you Chinaman? These 50-centers have a lot of nerve….

        People who defend China and Chinese should be ostracized.

        1. Maybe we should ask you, wumaodang. It’s a bit obvious who you really are. Maybe you’re also playing the part of ‘santaklaws’, below?

          Michael Hughes is right: this place is full of trolls.

        2. chill out bro, i don’t defend CCP i only defend ma fellow chinese. don’t fuck with us, we’re over 1billion strong. that’s billion, with a B.

          here, let me write it out for you

          9 zeroes brah

      2. Funny. The lad writes I, English, China and trust without capital letters and doesn’t finish his sentence with a full stop, still calls other people illiterate.

  5. What’s equally disgusting is the bystanders just sitting there watching sexual harassment take place. Grow some balls ffs.

    1. the bystanders did nothing because it was a Japanese company.
      Japanese do things that are weird to our eyes as normal to them.

      i guess people saw the guy was drunk and didn’t do nothing because it wasn’t like the guy was not drunk and harassed her on purpose.

  6. incoming Chinese hate on Japanese comments

    “He grabbed me so hard that my arms were black and blue”
    seriously! exaggeration much?:/

    that is farked up man! She should have stand up for herself man, this is bullying and sexual harassment. And the problem with this kind of thing is that, most Japanese think doing this is alright therefore the colleagues told her to put up with it, and you can see others said she should fight it.

    She should’ve fought it, because she was scared of something:/
    I mean if someone is constantly doing this to you, wouldn’t you think of a point that the guy would go too far and even try to rape you?

    1. I’m guessing most of her colleagues are Chinese, actually. It’s not like foreign companies come to China in order to pay equal wages (or more, for ‘hazard conditions’) to what they pay workers back home. A couple expat managers, and the rest are likely to be Chinese.

      For this reason I find it hard to say this is just a Japanese peccadillo (although the hierarchical, male-dominated society is in some ways quite similar in both Japan and China).

      I suppose she could have fought it, but not everyone has aggressive temperament. This is one reason a lot of sexual harassment goes unreported: the victim acts either passively (hoping the problem will eventually go away) or passive-aggressively (in which case stews for a while then chops off the guy’s dick when her pent-up fury finally erupts).

  7. her arms turned black and blue, maybe she’s the one who had too much to drink. was she stoned or something? seriously, a fake story sounds fake right at the beginning. they should sue her for false accusations.

  8. At least the Japanese have decency and democracy – therefore I have no sympathy for that Chinese woman. I don’t care if he raped and killed her family – she’s still Chinese.

    Actually I feel more sorry for the Japanese because they have to worry about those barbaric Chinese to the south. If I were neighbors with China I would act out too. The Japanese and S. Koreans have proven that they are able to handle democracy and western values, therefore they have earned my respect.

    The Chinese on the other hand, are human scum and need to taught a lesson. You would think they’ve learned from the Opium wars.

    1. “we need japanese genes to be more creative. what a dumb bitch!”

      Except the Japanese aren’t creative at all


  9. Wondering if I should respond in a forum with such obvious racist, sexist comment… I am an American man who has worked in many different companies since the 1970’s. What every society needs is male coworkers who can confidentially advise, give comfort, and stand up for women who are subjected to harassment.

    Early in my career I advised a woman who was crudely harassed behind closed doors by her boss. He was fired within the year and she ended up progressing far beyond the position he had held. Imagine the loss to her company (and in the aggregate, to society) if her talents had been squelched and he had been allowed to continue such behavior with others.

    I ask those who might hesitate – do you like the thought of your daughter, sister, or spouse being subject to such treatment? How can you not be a feminist – in the best, tolerant sense of the word – if you have a loved one in your life of the female sex? The first step to empowerment is to help the oppressed understand that they have support, and that the opposite sex is not the enemy. A culture has to change from within, one person at a time. With expanded communication should come enlightenment; progress is attained on the shoulders of those with a more limited view. Life is a lot more pleasant when you can believe you live among peers, rather than a perception of inferiors and superiors based upon traits each individual is born with.

  10. we need Japanese genes to be more creative, so we can make lots of money. Disobedient women like her should be aborted! Confucius was right!

  11. LOL at all the pseudo intellectuals here. In particular, I’m surprised Dr Jones is still trolling after the beating he got from me last time.

    People here must be deluded if they feel that sexual harassment claims are only discouraged in China. The purpose of bringing a cause of action under criminal law is to punish the offender and NOT than compensate the victim.

    In fact, the result of bringing an action is unwanted publicity, and It reduces the attractiveness of the victim to future employers. If an issue is simply a matter of groping, and the victim is not seriously hurt by the actions, it seems counter intuitive to want to bring a claim. The time and expense of doing so in any criminal justice system makes it too costly and the benefits only very marginal given the scope of compensation afforded to victims.

    In fact, even if an employee (male or female) is hit by an employer in any country, it would be difficult and costly to sue the employer unless you were actually seeking a under the table settlement. The reason why is that in most criminal cases, the state acts as the prosecution and it is impossible to simply settle the matter before or during the proceedings. Therefore, an employee would only threaten to sue if they wanted to blackmail the employer for money or because they hate their employers guts to death that they would waste hours of time for nothing but ‘justice’ lol. In most cases, most cases won’t be pursued because of issues of evidence more than anything else. There is no difference in China or in any other country. In this case, there is evidence and there is hatred for Japanese – suing seems like a great choice!

  12. How can “But he was drunk!” be a defense? I know China has about the shittiest labor laws and virtually no protection for the common people but still,, Had it been in the West, the boss would have taken ONE look at the photos and fired the guy. If not he would have made his company more liable and no one wants to risk that.

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