A series of allegations against a well-known Chinese screenwriter has once again put the #MeToo movement in China in the spotlight. The writer, identified only as Xi Han, has been accused of sexual harassment by over a dozen women, resulting in her losing her job at several media companies. While she strongly denies the allegations, the controversy has reignited discussions around sexual harassment and gender inequality in China.
The allegations against Xi Han have sparked a debate on social media that has lasted for several days and garnered hundreds of millions of views on Weibo. Some Chinese users have defended the writer, while others have rallied behind her accusers and spoken out against gender inequalities that normalize sexual harassment against women.
Despite facing frequent censorship and crackdowns on feminist activism, China’s #MeToo movement has continued to gain traction. However, its progress has been hindered by the deep-rooted power imbalances that allow established and respected figures to take advantage of young women and fans seeking to break into the industry.
The accusations against Xi Han have prompted a number of companies to sever ties with her, including publisher Xiron and news magazine New Weekly. The move marks a significant shift in how China’s institutions handle sexual harassment claims against celebrities.
Despite successes in legal battles against perpetrators of sexual harassment, such as Chinese-Canadian pop star Chris Wu, many victims still face a grueling legal battle to seek justice. Recent failures in sexual harassment lawsuits have made it increasingly clear that seeking legal remedies for sexual harassment is not practical.
Xi Han’s case once again highlights the importance of the #MeToo movement in China and the need for continued efforts to challenge gender inequalities and sexual harassment.