Survey: Sexual Harassment is Rampant Among Female College Students in China

Survey: Sexual Harassment is Rampant Among Female College Students in China
Nov 27, 2014 Translated by

Editor’s note: Over the years, reports and studies about the rise of sexual harassment in China have been published on a frequent basis, with some researchers suggesting that the rapid transformation of China’s economy has played a role in this, citing shifting attitudes towards sex and women, as well as increased exposure to situations where harassment may occur. China has a long history of sexual harassment where historically, women were in an inferior position to men in society.  However, it was only in 2005 that the country implemented its first sexual harassment law. But as the worrying results of the survey below, and many others like it, have pointed out, the passing of legislation is not enough to reduce sexual harassment cases or provide protection to women.

Photo: Haley

On November 4, China Women’s Daily News published a report on a recent survey by branches of the All China Women’s Federation in Beijing and Nanjing. The survey was taken by female college students in 15 different universities. The Women’s Federation found that 57 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment in one form or another.

A serious situation for female students

A different survey also underlines the severity of the problem. Scholars surveyed 1200 female students and 531 of them (44.3 percent) reported that they had experienced sexual harassment. Many victims reported having suffered sexual harassment two or three times. The survey found that 23 percent of female college students believe that the current climate of sexual harassment is “very serious.” 60.4 percent of female college students said that the current sexual harassment situation is “serious.”

Sexual assault and harassment by teachers

“There are distinctive features when talking about teacher-student sexual harassment or sexual assault,” said Beijing’s Public Women’s Legal Advisory Services lawyer Zhang Weiwei. Zhang has taken on many cases related to the issue. She said that teachers use their status and power to sexually harass students. This can even lead to sexual assault. “These instances of harassment often happen more than once. Students can get hurt, and have traumatic stress reactions such as depression and suicide,” said Zhang Weiwei.

However, it is difficult for lawyers and investigators to collect evidence on campus sexual assault cases. Zhang Weiwei said that she is saddened that when the injured party stands up to protect their rights they often suffer. They face the spread of rumors and other slander. “For example, some people will say that it was actually the student who seduced the teacher, or twist the story somehow,” said Zhang. It is easy for the victim to became a scapegoat and come under enormous social and psychological stress.

Schools lie to protect teachers

Zhang Weiwei even encountered an incident where a school had lied to protect a teacher. “The school said that the sexual assault charge against the teacher was false. They said that the teacher has a good character and such a thing would be impossible,” said Zhang. This was accepted by the judge and the teacher was acquitted. The spirit of the girl was destroyed. “Her life was ruined at such a young age,” sighed Zhang.


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Keywords: sexual harassment survey china Chinese female college students sexual harassment in China


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This report was very vague about what constitutes as "sexual harrasment" in that questionaire? I'm curious to know.

Jul 29, 2015 02:50 Report Abuse



Here we go again. Same people doing China-bashing. Go teach English you loosers!

Jul 29, 2015 02:47 Report Abuse



China's rap sheet and observations by anyone not completely blind, or blinded, reveal this is a very real, horrible, and far too common occurrence. Deal with reality or wait for the inevitable catastrophe.

Mar 21, 2015 11:30 Report Abuse



Well, it is really surprising.

Jan 30, 2015 01:58 Report Abuse



This is surprising for me , being living 3 years in China

Jan 19, 2015 21:07 Report Abuse



WoW, it looks still like theres so many comments here from the simpletons.

Dec 02, 2014 17:09 Report Abuse



Coward? What? I base my views on sound research, from reliable sources. Did you go to university by wikipedia, or perhaps wechat?

Dec 10, 2014 20:19 Report Abuse



This problem is much worse in the 'free' West

Nov 30, 2014 23:20 Report Abuse



"The 'free' west". Wow. Don't tell me you have bought into the closed minded belligerent thinking is China and there is everything else. The statistics they quoted in this article are ridiculously high. Plenty of room for improvement and much higher than my home country.

Dec 01, 2014 08:27 Report Abuse



Incognito above, this isn't bashing China, Have you considered that this might be Echina posting a local article just? On just another case that keep reoccurring due, often, by the uneducated immoral beings of those living and lived the same cases you cited above? Living in China does not mean I should sit and take liberty into knowing about these ugly facts done to these girls and leave it just because I'm from elsewhere? It is a worldwide, conscious-ill wise and common-sense matter. It needs to be noted, written and taught for people, and those like you who are tired of the misfortunate events occuring in your own backyard, not to happen anymore. What you do about it, and us the rest is to sit? That says a lot. Nonetheless, it is not bashing China, it is teaching and telling the oppressed to stop their stupid arousals, BUT to respect these young ladies, themselves and everyone else. But I'm guessing this is another post that is definetely not going to turn around your conscience, will it?

Nov 27, 2014 16:03 Report Abuse



Not that I approve or support this but for Christ's sake, always the same people bashing China. Before you keep throwing more stones don't forget the cases of paedos dressed in cassocks, Jimmy Savile, and Bill Cosby recently not counting the ones we never hear.. If you live or work here, cope with it or bug off to where you come from. Learn not to shit in the backyard of your own house.

Nov 27, 2014 14:15 Report Abuse



Oh look, another 'if you don't like it here why don't you leave...?' Hug a panda today?

Nov 27, 2014 15:54 Report Abuse



Hear hear, Incognito.

Nov 27, 2014 15:59 Report Abuse



Well said. I'm also fed up with the same guys always China bashing. Seems like a bunch of no-lifers.

Dec 04, 2014 11:11 Report Abuse



This kind of thing is catch-22. Many girls are actually selling their bodies to rich married men for a weekend of sex for perks. So the image is sometimes manifested by the women themselves. Just check the Friday evening gates of most universities and see how many middle aged drivers of Mercedes, Audi, and BMWs are actually fathers picking their daughters up.

Nov 27, 2014 11:14 Report Abuse



"Many girls are actually selling bodies to rich married men for a weekend of sex for perks." I'll pretend this is an opinion? But what about the men paying for sex, what are they? The Rich precious human species to save us all once the world is collapsing? "So the image is sometimes manifested by the women themselves." I never knew we were walking around here asking for um.. RAPE? Oh, You so need help man.

Nov 27, 2014 16:26 Report Abuse



I need help? For what? I am not doing this behavior. This isn't like it is in Western Countries where people place value on life based on individuality, rather than physicality or appearance. This is a fact that is ingraved on the brains of a good many people I have met around here, both male and female. Sorry to say but many of my guy friends told me about the sorry perception the public has, regarding such girls. Girl friends also. Does this make it right? Not! Can you or I change it? Absolutely not! I was just pointing out an observation based on my travels throughout the whole of China and most people admit to me in privacy that this idea is quite normal. Anyone who has been around China and made friends here cannot deny these facts. Furthermore, why not delve deeper into this very website's archives and you will see articles about this very topic, in depth. I need help? For bringing to light a certain truth? Men who pay for sex will pay for what is available, or not. If you go to a Food Court in a shopping mall and you love pizza and someone is selling pizza, you will buy the pizza. Does this excuse those who become obese on unhealthy ingredients? Of course not! But if women are making themselves look a certain way or behave in a certain way, this is just a certain truth. Truth is, when people want to reform something, education is necessary as well as action, such as better policies that are properly enforced. Given all the anti corruption arrests, why not take it a step further and support these young girls safety? So..... I need help? Well given that you hide behind a guest account, I will assume that you are just a website troll aimed at pushing your own personal agenda, which is fine. But I will only be responsible for what I say, not what you understand. Nuff said!

Nov 27, 2014 17:50 Report Abuse



I am not here to troll, but just like you I guess, trying to make sure that the same standard of thinking of what makes prostitution that is unquestionably all women, stop. Review what you write before you post then, before you explain the same mistake twice. If not a mistake as you said, then at least Stop generalizing. No woman is walking down these streets asking for harassment, disrespectful signals like they are objects for sex. Not these students! not the girl next door! not your sister, not your mother, and all your female family members matter fact.. And these are the same people who do stand for who you are objecting! Helas, for those who act like they are, equal satisfaction behind closed doors is up to them. It works both ways, If you pass by me, and I throw you couple of punches, and I tell you 'ya damn passed by asking for it', I wonder if you will praise me for it. So maybe if you are tying to solve and reform these minds like you mentioned, restating worlwide recognized facts, and tensioningthem will not help. Excuse my french for trying to correct you a bit there, your irrelevant feelings about the matter were the last thing I, the troll, meant to elevate. But your mind.

Nov 27, 2014 18:56 Report Abuse



Oh I see, you'd rather we just remain hush hush about the topic, rather than trying to root out the unfortunate truths. Furthermore, if I make a statement, you will accept it as being the whole of something, rather that being a contributing cause to the topic, in this case sexual harassment. I thought these public forums were in open format so that people could discuss their experiences and help each other to understand why things are, in a frank way. Now I feel like I need to hire an editor just to edit my comments. Brilliantly put but forgive me for not finding any French in your dialog here. Furthermore, why not capitalize the "f" in French? Perhaps it is yourself who could do with a healthy review of what you write. Hey, I didn't start this but when you put it like that, I can play fair. But this truly is off topic now and unless our little spat is going to help raise awareness for these young girls, perhaps we could give better suggestions to our local friends than to focus on reviewing what we wrote when in fact what we all have been writing should be beneficial towards helping said victims. Don't you agree?

Nov 28, 2014 12:48 Report Abuse



Actually many ppl in china have decent morals etc. Its funny how these articles try to make divides with westerners.

Nov 27, 2014 10:56 Report Abuse



No surprise when you are raised in a society with no decency, morals or basic human values. Sexual harassment is just another bullet point on China's laundry list of problems.

Nov 27, 2014 10:07 Report Abuse



The way Chinese people treat women sucks. No wonder the smart, educated ones run to foreigners. At least we treat them as equals.

Nov 27, 2014 09:22 Report Abuse



Great use of sarcasm.

Nov 27, 2014 15:58 Report Abuse



What a surprise.

Nov 27, 2014 07:47 Report Abuse