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China’s latest rape scandals are #MeToo victory, activists say — even when authorities will not admit it

Editor’s Be aware: A model of this story appeared in CNN’s In the meantime in China publication, a three-times-a-week replace exploring what you could know in regards to the nation’s rise and the way it impacts the world. Enroll right here.

Hong Kong CNN —  

Two explosive rape allegations have rocked China in latest weeks, turning a highlight on the nation’s stifled #MeToo motion and issues of sexual assault.

On Monday, the e-commerce large Alibaba stated it had fired an worker who was accused of sexually assaulting one other worker throughout a enterprise journey. The week earlier than, Beijing police stated they’d arrested Chinese language-Canadian pop star Kris Wu on suspicion of rape, in line with a press release.

In each circumstances, victims had posted their allegations on Chinese language social media, which sparked a web based furor and prompted police to research. Neither Wu nor the Alibaba worker have been charged with any crime.

The authorities’ swift actions received reward from some on-line, who pointed to the 2 circumstances as a sign of the efficient rule of regulation and legal justice in China. But it raised eyebrows amongst others, who say it as a substitute highlights how uncommon it’s for survivors to talk out and search justice.

“It’s unsurprising that each circumstances have drawn such extensive consideration, given (Kris Wu) and Alibaba’s excessive profile,” stated Feng Yuan, a feminist scholar and activist. “However this additionally serves as a reminder that for a lot of different circumstances of sexual harassment and assault, if the accused are usually not so well-known or influential, (victims) may not have their voices heard in any respect.”

Sexual assault survivors have lengthy confronted robust stigma and resistance in China, on the official stage in addition to among the many public. And whereas surveys in recent times counsel that sexual assault and harassment is prevalent within the nation of 1.four billion folks, the variety of precise prosecutions is small.

Between 2013 and 2017, 43,000 folks had been prosecuted for “crimes of violating girls’s private rights,” in line with the workplace of China’s high prosecutor. These crimes embrace trafficking, rape and compelled prostitution.

The problem was pushed to the fore in 2018 when the #MeToo motion went international. In China, too, it prompted extra girls to share their experiences with sexual misconduct and assault — however the motion was rapidly quashed. The federal government moved to dam rising on-line dialogue, together with censoring the hashtag and lots of associated posts, whereas state-run media printed articles claiming sexual assault isn’t an issue in China.

There have been some steps of progress since then. In 2020, China handed a brand new civil code that, for the primary time, outlined actions that may represent sexual harassment.

However there are nonetheless gaps within the regulation, like a scarcity of clear tips for enforcement. And the federal government remains to be reluctant to debate sexual misconduct as a systemic downside, activists say, as a substitute preferring to report on particular person circumstances and solid blame elsewhere.

As an example, a authorities watchdog company stated the Kris Wu case illustrated “the black hand of the capital” and “the wild development of the leisure business.” And in an editorial article, the state-run International Occasions tabloid stated the Alibaba scandal mirrored a necessity for larger “authorized and ethical supervision” within the tech world, and for corporations to higher align their “capital” with societal values.

Their language echoes the federal government’s broader clampdown on the personal sector, with regulators more and more focusing on companies with fines and restrictions.

Notably absent from official rhetoric is any emphasis on what activists say are the roots of the issue: lack of assist for survivors of gender-based violence and entrenched gender inequality in lots of facets of society.

A part of the rationale the federal government is so cautious of acknowledging public outrage round these underlying points is as a result of it would encourage larger social organizing and activism, stated Lv Pin, a distinguished Chinese language feminist now primarily based in New York.

The federal government has cracked down closely on China’s feminist motion in recent times. Famously, in 2015, 5 younger feminists had been detained over their marketing campaign for gender equality, although they had been finally launched after worldwide outcry. Authorities supporters and nationalist trolls have additionally attacked feminist social media accounts, with some platforms eradicating their accounts solely.

Neither of the alleged victims who stepped ahead in each the Kris Wu and Alibaba circumstances alluded to #MeToo, which may simply draw censorship on social media, Feng stated. “For some time, even the time period ‘sexual harassment’ turned a delicate phrase,” she added.

Nevertheless, for a lot of activists, the 2 circumstances nonetheless supply a ray of hope — and an indication that even when the federal government doesn’t wish to discuss sexual misconduct, the general public does.

“Regardless of whether or not they name it #MeToo or not, the essence is #MeToo,” stated Feng. “Though most distinguished feminist social media accounts have been censored, the victims can all the time handle to search out their very own methods to talk out.”

When the 2 victims got here ahead with their allegations towards Wu and Alibaba, they had been overwhelmingly met with assist on-line. A hashtag, #GirlsHelpGirls, even started circulating on the social media platform Weibo to encourage different girls to talk up — earlier than Weibo finally restricted use of the hashtag.

The wave of assist demonstrates how “the #MeToo motion has consistently been shaping public opinion and remodeling concepts,” stated Lv. “Just a few years in the past, issues like this may not even turn out to be an issue, or they may get ignored.”

“The authorized consequence of those circumstances is tough to say — what’s going to occur to those circumstances, particularly the legal half, is tough to foretell,” she added. “However by way of public opinion, it’s a victory.”

Aerial propaganda dogfight in full pressure

A J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Airforce in a training session in Zhuhai, China, on October 30, 2018.
Chi wei/Imaginechina/AP
A J-20 stealth fighter jet of the Chinese language Individuals’s Liberation Military Airforce in a coaching session in Zhuhai, China, on October 30, 2018.

Since its first flight a decade in the past, the Individuals’s Liberation Military Air Pressure’s J-20 stealth fighter has been touted as the head of Chinese language navy aviation.

However observers within the West have seen valuable little of it, save for an occasional air present or navy parade.

This week, nevertheless, the twin-engine jets are being showcased because the spotlight of joint China-Russia navy drills in China’s northwest.

The state-run International Occasions stated the primary look of the J-20s in joint workout routines illustrate enhanced China-Russia navy cooperation within the face of safety challenges in Asia, in addition to “direct threats from the US and its allies.”

The report didn’t specify the character of these alleged threats, however the J-20s’ look on the China-Russia drills comes only a few weeks after the US Air Pressure placed on its biggest-ever show of stealth fighter energy in Asia, sending greater than two dozen F-22 Raptor jets to an train on the Pacific islands of Guam and Tinian.

When the J-20 first flew a decade in the past, China touted it as the reply to American F-22s and F-35s, the world’s premier stealth plane. And after the PLA declared it combat-ready in 2018, Chinese language navy professional Tune Zongping, in a publish on the PLA’s English-language web site, stated the J-20 would “have interaction with rivals sooner or later who dare to impress China within the air.”

–By Brad Lendon

Tesla gross sales cratered in China

Tesla gross sales have dropped sharply in China, in line with a commerce group report, suggesting it’s dropping floor on this planet’s largest marketplace for each conventional and electrical automobiles.

The China Passenger Automotive Affiliation reported Tesla’s gross sales in China fell to eight,621 vehicles in July, down practically 70% from June. However the export of vehicles constructed at Tesla’s Shanghai plant jumped to 24,347 for July, in contrast with 5,017 in June. Meaning whole gross sales of Chinese language-built Teslas fell lower than 1% general.

Critics say the steep decline of gross sales to Chinese language customers is yet one more signal of the rising issues the corporate faces within the nation. Tesla is contending with elevated competitors from Chinese language EV makers in addition to a run of unhealthy publicity, together with a recall of just about the entire vehicles which have been in-built Shanghai. In that case, clients got a free software program replace to resolve points with the cruise management system in sure fashions.

The corporate additionally confronted protests by Telsa house owners at this yr’s Shanghai auto present over poor automobile high quality and numerous security considerations flagged by Chinese language regulators.

Teslas accounted for simply 3.9% of July gross sales of battery electrical automobiles in China, down from 12.6% in June, stated analyst Gordon Johnson, who has been among the many harshest critics of the corporate. He stated that decline exhibits Tesla is dealing with fiercer competitors from native EV startups.

“Total, it now appears clear that Tesla has overbuilt Chinese language capability when in comparison with home demand, which is able to lead to additional value cuts and margin strain,” Johnson stated. “Given China is meant to be Tesla’s ‘development market,’ these numbers ought to concern any Tesla bull.”

However Tesla traders appeared unfazed by the gross sales dip, as shares declined lower than 1% Tuesday. That’s in sharp distinction to the steeper drops within the inventory value following related weak experiences from the CPCA in April and Might.

Not like different automakers, Tesla doesn’t breakdown gross sales by market and solely experiences gross sales quarterly, not month-to-month. So the numbers from the CPCA are usually not confirmed. Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark Tuesday.

– By Chris Isidore and Laura He

Round Asia

  • A Chinese language courtroom has sentenced Canadian Michael Spavor, a Beijing-based businessman who often traveled to North Korea, to 11 years in jail for espionage.
  • China has punished greater than 40 native officers for failing to manage a spiraling Delta variant outbreak, as authorities scramble to curb the worst resurgence of Covid-19 the nation has seen in additional than a yr.
  • US State Division officers are discussing the drawdown of the US embassy in Kabul, in line with two sources aware of the discussions, because the Taliban continues to achieve floor in Afghanistan.
  • Many nations in Asia-Pacific at the moment are dealing with their worst-ever Covid outbreaks after dealing with the pandemic comparatively nicely for a yr and a half — throwing the zero-Covid technique into query.
  • A Chinese language courtroom has upheld the demise sentence for Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian convicted of drug smuggling in China in 2018.

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