Law tightened on sexual harassment
By Chen Hong
Updated: 2007-09-25 07:19

Authorities in South China's Guangdong Province have agreed an amendment to the law to provide women with better protection from sexual harassment at work and at home.

The legislative body passed an amendment to regulations on how to implement the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, which will come into effect on Monday.

The law has been expanded from 23 clauses to 46 and provides detailed guidelines on family violations, sexual harassment and women's employment.

"The legislators have introduced some constructive and inventive measures to protect the rights and interests of women," You Zhilong, a senior lawyer with Guangdong Geenen Law Office, said yesterday.

For the first time the regulations define sexual harassment, which includes inappropriate behavior and language, and characterizations, pictures, images or digital information about sex.

The regulations specify that companies and the administrations of public places are responsibile for preventing and stopping sexual harassment of women by creating an appropriate environment and implementing a suitable investigation system for complaints.

"A clear definition is vital for lawyers to collect evidence. It will encourage women to protect their legal rights," You said.

Mental torture has also been identified as a kind of family violence for the first time, alongside assault, restriction of personal freedom and other forms of physical harm.

The amended regulations specify that government and non-governmental organizations have a responsibility to accept complaints, make investigations, collect evidence to stop family violations and provide temporary shelters for victims.

The regulations also state offenders will be punished according to the law.

"The local regulations highlight some hot issues and provide countermeasures, which could better protect the rights and interests of women," Zhao Donghua, chairwoman of the Guangdong Women's Federation, said.

(China Daily 09/25/2007 page5)