China / Society

Educators petitioned over sexual harassment

( Updated: 2014-09-10 15:41

More than 250 teachers, academics and students have appealed to educators to root out sexual harassment in universities, Legal Daily reported.

Open letters, signed by 256 advocates from home and abroad, have been submitted to the Minister of Education and the President of Xiamen University seeking thorough investigation of sexual harassment cases in the university. They also suggest the ministry issue regulations to prevent on-campus sexual assaults in higher education facilities and called on Xiamen University to be the first to implement such a mechanism.

Wu Chunming, a history professor at Xiamen University in East China's Fujian province, was accused in June of molesting and enticing female students into having sex. He was exposed when a blogger, nicknamed "Youth Handle", claimed to be one of his victims by posting online a photo of a partially nude man in bed. The university has set up a team to probe the allegations, but has not yet released any report.

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Ke Qianting,a deputy professor of the Chinese Department at Sun Yat-sen University and one of the drafters of the letters,said during her 10 years promoting women's rights, she had received many complaints from students who have been victims of sexual assaults but had failed to provide any practical help due to lack of related regulations and mechanism.

Wang Tianding, head of the School of Journalism and Communication at Xian International Studies University, said he believes the Xiamen University incident is a grave breach of professional ethics.

"It is despicable that a university educator forces female students into relationships by taking advantage of his position," he said.

Jin Yihong, visiting professor at Nanjing University, said: "Wu's case brings the topic to the attention of the public. There must be an anti-molestation campaign and reform of the educational system. Sexual assaults should be identified as a crime".

China has seen a string of cases in recent years of teachers harassing students which have attracted nationwide attention.

In 2011, a netizen posted a blog claiming that a professor at a university specializing in geosciences had required female students to visit his home to discuss their studies and urged those who refused to consider the consequences.

In 2013, a netizen exposed on the Internet that the wife of Qiu Ting, a professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, allegedly attempted suicide after Qiu had extramarital affairs with many female students.

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