Wuhan University announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn the master’s degree and diploma of Bai Xiangyu, who now works at Huawei’s South African branch, after an investigation into his reported sexual misconduct on campus.
Wuhan University released the official notice above on Weibo, announcing the revocation of Bai Xiangyu’s master’s degree and diploma. Screengrab via Weibo
The scandal first surfaced on February 26, when a WeChat article circulated online accusing Bai of sexual harassment.
According to screenshots of the article, which was quickly removed from WeChat by moderators, Bai sexually harassed almost 30 female students when he was a part-time instructor at Wuhan University from September 2017 to May 2019.
In another WeChat article posted by the same author on Tuesday, the writer claimed that her story was based on a 15,000-word testimony with hundreds of pictures and screenshots sent from one of Bai’s targets. The women’s rights champion also said that she was previously cyberbullied because of her article on the Nth Room case in South Korea, a cybersex criminal case involving the “virtual enslavement” of women between 2018 and 2020.
According to the testimony, Bai photographed or asked the female students to send him photos of their bodies or underwear with the excuse that he was providing stress interview training or psychological consultation. He also used the manipulative techniques of PUA, or pickup artists, to psychologically control and threaten his victims.
The targeted women allegedly reported the case to the university back in August 2021 and also reached out to the All-China Women’s Federation and journalists, but little progress was achieved.
The disciplinary action soon went viral on Weibo, with 100 million views under the related hashtag. Netizens celebrated the news but also noted that this was only the first step.
“It seems that the pressure of public opinion is useful. Wuhan University handled the scandal quite well. Now let’s see how Huawei deals with the case,” a user commented.
“Good, I hope more schools can join in and tackle misconduct on campus,” wrote another.
Huawei has not yet responded to the case.
China’s #MeToo movement has traveled a bumpy road — with moderate successes and considerable setbacks. As recently as June 2020, a social worker in Chengdu won China’s first-ever sexual harassment lawsuit.
Meanwhile, two other landmark cases were dismissed by courts in 2021.
In August 2021, a female employee of tech giant Alibaba accused her boss of sexual assault and rape. However, one month later, the provincial government dropped the case due to insufficient evidence.
Around the same time, the courts also struck down another high-profile sexual misconduct lawsuit, once again due to “insufficient proof” to support the allegation. The alleged perpetrator, Zhu Jun, is a prominent TV host with China’s state broadcaster CCTV and a former Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member. He has since sued his accuser for defamation.
Cover photo via Depositphotos
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