Editor’s Note: Comments by Netizen on a recent Guangzhou rape case involving a Nanfang Daily reporter and female intern show that China has quite a ways to go when it comes to rape culture. Many Netizens blame the victim, ask why she didn’t fight back, and analyze her personality and past actions. Luckily, there are a few voices of reasons that defend the victim. Even the translated article, however, has its issues, asking questions why the victim entered the hotel room with her rapist.
The Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau reported on June 26 that the Nanfang Daily reporter accused of raping a female intern has been detained by police. The case is currently under investigation. The victim in the case is a young student at Jinan University named Zhang.
Zhang received news that the reporter Cheng, had been detained, but said in an interview that the news did not make her feel better. She also said that she has not paid attention to the number of Netizens who have commented on the case. Zhang said that she believes the police investigation will bring the incident to a fair conclusion.
Unfortunately, a number of Chinese Netizens have spoken out against Zhang and questioned her story. Users asked online why the victim willingly followed Cheng into the hotel and some claimed that the two had slept together dozens of times in the past. Zhang said in an interview that these claims were “nonsense” and she had not slept with Cheng in the past.
Zhang told New Media Women that she followed Cheng to his room because, “he was my supervisor at the newspaper, and I did not think he would do such a thing.”
After Zhang’s story was shared in the media, several other interns reported that they had had similar experiences with Cheng. Netizen bamboo said that she had had a similar experience to Zhang, but had left after Cheng came on to her in the café.
A Netizen who claimed to know Cheng with the username Xiao 14 Ta Ba posted an article on their public WeChat yesterday evening with a list of “five true things” about the incident. The article said that the sex between Zhang and Cheng had been consensual and that Zhang had asked for 2,000 RMB.
1) Why Did Zhang Enter a Hotel Room with Cheng?
A top comment on Weibo read, “I do know understand why she went into the room with him.” The third place comment read, “Why would a college student be stupid enough to go into a hotel room with him.”
Xiao 14 Ta Ba’s article claimed that Zhang willingly gave Cheng her ID card in order to check in to the hotel. Zhang waited for Cheng while he booked the hotel room. A staff member asked if they would share the room and Zhang nodded.
Zhang told New Media Women that Cheng took her ID card away from her. “Why would I go to the police because my supervisor took away my ID card?” She said she had not expected him to try to rape her. Cheng had told her that he wanted to talk with her in private, and she followed him to the room.
In the interview, Zhang said that at the time she though what happened was normal because Cheng did not have a girlfriend.
2) Why Didn’t She Report the 2,000 RMB Right Away?
The first article said that Cheng sent 2,000 RMB to Zhang on WeChat and then brought her to the hotel bathroom to clean off the evidence. In a daze, Zhang accepted Cheng’s “hush money.”
Zhang said, “What had happened already happen, what could I do about it?” The door to the hotel room was still locked and Cheng was blocking her exit. “I had no choice but to accept it,” she said.
Zhang said that at first she did not want to report Cheng to the police and chalked the incident up to bad luck. But, she told her friend Xiao Jiang. Xiao Jiang told her friend, and the friend recognized the incident as rape and said that Zhang must tell the police.
Zhang said if Xiao Jiang wasn’t there, she may not have gone to the police.
3) Why Didn’t She Fight Back?
Many Netizens questioned why Zhang did not fight back. Xiao 14 Ta Ba claimed that the two stopped to by contraceptives after leaving the hotel. They were walking and talking together and Zhang did not look uncomfortable.
Zhang said that she is very timid and her supervisor is a very powerful and respected reporter. She also said that was afraid of being beaten and therefore did not resist.
The first article published on the incident said that Zhang did not dare fight Cheng but pleaded with him saying, “I do not want money, I don’t want to do it.” She tried to push the door open to escape but it was locked.
4) Who is the Victim?
In the first article, Zhang is characterized as introverted. New Media Woman said that Zhang is a small woman, less than five meters tall. She weighs less than forty kilograms. “She is a good-natured girl, with a hesitant, embarrassed smile.”
Netizen Labi Xiaoqiu posted on Weibo and described a different picture of Zhang. He said that according to a different supervisor, Zhang was greedy. Her supervisor let her go participate in a press conference and she took a 1,000 RMB red envelope that she was supposed to hand over the company. Labi Xiaoqiu added that Zhang had been cited for other “bad behavior.”
None of these allegations have been confirmed. Many Netizens disagree with Labi Xiaoqiu. One replied, “Even if someone is a prostitute, if she does not want to have sex with someone it is called rape.”
5) How Many Other Victims are there?
Zhang said that after her story was exposed online, many students and colleagues told her that they had been harassed or teased by Cheng. No one has also reported rape.
An intern named Wang said that Cheng had also tried to take her ID card to book a hotel room. However, she took a few pictures as evidence and ran away.
A third victim wrote on Weibo that Cheng had tried to grope her in the office. He had made her 80,000 character manuscript to keep her in the office overtime. However, she had been vigilant and been able to avoid him.
When she had received her internship certificate, she needed Cheng to stamp it but could not find him. His car was not in the parking lot. She received a stamp from the editor in chief instead. Later, she saw Cheng’s car parked nearby in the red-light district.
The former intern said that she had chosen to share her own story because of all the negative comments on Weibo surrounding the incident. “I do not understand why people are so against the victim,” she wrote.
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Keywords: Nanfang Daily rape Nanfang Daily
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