Chinese Police Are Giving Women the Worst Advice Ever On Avoiding Sexual Harassment

With complaints of sexual harassment of women on public transportation on the rise in Beijing, the Chinese police have warned women against wearing “minimal clothing” such as mini-skirts or hot pants to avoid being subjected to unwanted groping or covert filming on cellphones. The police have also suggested that women not sit on higher levels of the bus, and instead stand on the lower levels while using bags, magazines, and newspapers to shelter their bodies to avoid sexual harassment.

Aside from the many glaringly obvious problems with the Chinese authorities' supposed solution to the very real and growing issue of sexual harassment in Beijing, this type of solution, which completely absolves men from taking any responsibility for their own actions, does not solve the problem at its root but instead highlights China’s long-standing issue of gender discrimination.

According to Xing Wei, a Beijing police officer, the guidelines for women had been published on the police bureau’s microblog the day before, asking that women increase awareness for their own protection. However, confining women to certain parts of the bus, telling them what they can and cannot wear, and asking them to cover up using bags, magazines, and newspapers is taking it a few steps above just increasing awareness, I would say.

"It is hard for us to collect evidence in sexual harassment cases despite cameras on buses and subways. It is also difficult to train public transportation workers to assist women in harassment prevention and response," Wei added. 

In other words, rather than establishing stricter policies that would explicitly prohibit sexual harassment or punishing the harassers, the Chinese authorities simply find it easier to tell women to cover up and protect themselves.  

As of now, anyone caught harassing women faces a warning, a fine, or at most, a whopping 15 days in detention as punishment.

Jiang Yue, a professor and expert on women’s rights at Xiamen University, agreed that the advisory from the police will not help to efficiently end the rising problem of sexual harassment in Beijing, but instead will cover up the issue. According to Yue, it’s not only easy, but also necessary for transport operators to provide warnings and monitor behavior on all public transportation.

"Passengers pay to take transport, so they have the responsibly to give them a safe environment,” Jiang said.

Furthermore, this type of discriminatory behavior against women is not entirely a new phenomenon in China. While women are increasingly being held responsible for protecting themselves, men are seeing no repercussions of any sort for their actions. An example of this is a Chinese city’s plan to fine mothers who have had children out of wedlock. The goal of this legislation is to “intensify family planning management.” However, it fails to include the father in this family planning, and absolves him of all responsibility.

By enforcing gender-discriminatory laws and regulations and exempting men from taking responsibility for their actions, the Chinese authorities aren’t solving their social issues. Instead, they’re just creating new problems. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Areej Elahi-Siddiqui

A Pakistani-American undergraduate student at the Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She enjoys watching inordinate amounts of television, reading far too many books and drinking lots and lots of coffee.

MORE FROM

A Czech company made interns compete in a bikini contest to get hired

A spokesperson from the company said the competition was to "promote technical education."

Trump's Medicaid and immigration policies will make home health care more expensive

The predominately female work force that serves the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes is under fire from two fronts.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

Third Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Banks, convicted in rape case

A jury found Brandon Banks guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery, sending him to a probable 15 years in prison.

What does consent look like on a show like 'Bachelor in Paradise'?

Warner Bros. has cleared the allegations involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, leaving many questions about consent on the show in its wake.

A Czech company made interns compete in a bikini contest to get hired

A spokesperson from the company said the competition was to "promote technical education."

Trump's Medicaid and immigration policies will make home health care more expensive

The predominately female work force that serves the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes is under fire from two fronts.

Poland makes emergency contraception a prescription-only drug — even for rape survivors

There's a relatively small time frame in which emergency contraception is effective. Requiring prescriptions may mean many Polish women will go without.

Bill Cosby publicists insist speaking tour has nothing to do with sexual assault

Ebonee Benson and Andrew Wyatt accused the media of twisting Wyatt's words, when really there is a video record of his announcement.

Third Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Banks, convicted in rape case

A jury found Brandon Banks guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery, sending him to a probable 15 years in prison.

What does consent look like on a show like 'Bachelor in Paradise'?

Warner Bros. has cleared the allegations involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, leaving many questions about consent on the show in its wake.