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Office worker in China accuses boss of harassment and beats him with mop in video

Woman threw books and water at supervisor, outraged at receiving unwanted texts

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 16 April 2021 13:08 BST
Office worker in China accused her boss of harassment and beat him with mop
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A government office worker in Northeastern China grew so tired of the harassing texts she received from her boss that she beat him repeatedly with a mop, and threw books and water at him.

The altercation was filmed, with the 14-minute video being posted to Chinese social media site Weibo. The boss has since been fired.

The New York Times reported that the woman has been identified by her last name, Zhou. She can be seen toppling her boss's computer monitor towards the end of the video. The boss has been identified as Wang.

The paper reported that as he was hiding his face behind his hands he was trying to apologize, saying that he was only joking when he sent the messages.

Local news says the woman filed a police report last week and that the video, which has been seen millions of times, started being shared online on Sunday, as reported by Sixth Tone.

“It was meant to be a joke!” he says in the video while covering his face.

“Oh my God, I didn’t expect this would happen!” the outlet reported him as saying.

There are limited workplace protections against sexual harassment in China and many who saw the video sided with the woman, saying that she was defending justice.

Chinese feminist activist Lu Pin said many saw the video as a release of pent-up anger over the lack of accountability for those who harass and the scarcity of actions from the courts or law enforcement.

Ms Lu told The New York Times: “Most of the time, women are forced to stay silent because it is hard for sexual harassment to be investigated. This woman took matters in her own hands to protect herself, that her behaviour is gaining so much attention is a reflection that there aren’t better ways.”

According to Chinese state media, the man in the video is the deputy director of a government poverty alleviation agency in the Beilin district of Suihua. The city is located in the Heilongjiang Province, about a five-hour drive from the Russian border.

He was fired after an investigation found that he had “life discipline problems,” following Communist Party measures, Xinhua, the state-run news agency said. Officials said the woman had a “mental illness". She was not disciplined.

A 2005 law prohibits sexual harassment in China and gives victims the right to file complaints with their employers. But few workplaces have proper policies aimed at curbing harassment.

Senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, Darius Longarino, told The New York Times: “Very few lawsuits have been brought against harassers, and successful ones are fewer yet. If the case just boils down to witness accounts, the court often rules that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the harassment occurred.”

Ms Zhou says in the video that she had received unwanted texts three times, adding that others in the office had similar experiences. In the video, she also makes a call and accuses her boss of assault. During the call, she says that she has already reported him to the authorities.

Police have said that they are investigating her claims, local news outlets reported.

Ms Lu added: “How can more victims who have not attracted public attention be supported? These questions have only been raised, and there are no answers.”

Mr Longarino said that Ms Zhou's accusations are supported by having her boss's admissions on camera.

Many times “there is no viral video," he said.

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