.contact us |.about us
News > Lifestyle News ...
Protect women from sexual harassment
( 2003-11-11 10:11) (China Daily HK Edition)

While the Beijing Haidian District People's Court on Thursday dismissed a sexual harassment charge made by a 25-year-old woman against her boss, marking the end of the first-ever sexual harassment lawsuit in the capital city, it surely won't be the last case the court hears.

Legal analysts watching the proceedings noted that in this particular drama the court found the woman failed to provide proof to support her charges. And, what's more, her reputation was sullied when information from medical authorities was allowed into the proceedings saying she suffered from so-called "paranoia."

The woman had brought a court action against her 32-year-old former boss in March, requesting a public apology for harassment and compensation of 50,000 yuan (US$6,040).

The court rejected a counter-claim put forward by the boss. He had accused the woman of giving a "made-up" story to the news media, saying she had violated his privacy. He had demanded an apology and compensation of 5,000 yuan (US$604).

This is reportedly only the fourth sexual harassment case brought so far in China, and, now, in two of the cases, the female plaintiffs have lost due to a "lack of evidence."

The only case in which a woman has won her claim was one filed by a teacher in Wuhan, Hubei Province, last month. There, the woman claimed a male superior had sexually harassed her. A local court passed a verdict which required the defendant to make a public apology.

Yet another court showed a remarkable lack of understanding by concluding that the harassment did not have any serious effect on the woman, and quashed the original judgment for compensation which would have given the woman 2,000 yuan (US$242) for psychological suffering.

Such cases are always messy, and involve a mixture of claims and counter-claims. It falls on the courts to sort them out.

The question is: Are China's courts ready to tackle that difficult job? And is the legal framework in place for the judges to be able to allow the law to work?

After all, in a nation of 1.3 billion people, it is hard to believe that not even a handful of women have not been sexually harassed on the job. Men in positions of power do abuse power. It will take a few pioneering women to fight their bosses and to seek redress in the "legal" system, whether it is ready or not.

Sexual harassment is real. It hurts women. Calls for legislation to clarify the law should be heard. The All-China Women's Federation has submitted a motion to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for precise definitions and punishments for sexual harassment to be put in place in revisions of the Law on Ensuring Woman's Rights and Interests.

The Standing Committee should act now. China will be better for it.

  Today's Top News   Top Lifestyle News
+Actions needed on AIDS; Clinton adds weight
( 2003-11-10)
+Chinese embassy in Burundi hit by mortar shell
( 2003-11-11)
+Mother's mission gives others hope
( 2003-11-10)
+Official's death at golf course raises graft issue
( 2003-11-11)
+China sows seeds for diplomatic `harvest'
( 2003-11-10)
+Protect women from sexual harassment
( 2003-11-11)
+Clinton joins China summit on AIDS, SARS
( 2003-11-11)
+Smart edges out Lynch in network ratings battle
( 2003-11-11)
+Generous Carrefour provokes outrage
( 2003-11-11)
+Rescuing the fading music
( 2003-11-11)
  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
  Related Articles  

+China considers legislation against sexual harassment

+Arguments against harassment law groundless

+Sexual harassment thorny issue for lawmakers

        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved