Chinese court dismisses #MeToo appeal by woman who accused CCTV host of forcibly kissing her

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A Beijing court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal filed by the plaintiff in a landmark sexual harassment case against one of the hosts of state broadcaster CCTV, in a decision that could serve as a blow to the country’s #MeToo movement.

Zhu Jun, a prominent host on CCTV has been accused of forcibly groping and kissing the plaintiff, Zhou Xiaoxuan while she was an intern at the state broadcaster in 2014.

Through a series of social media posts in 2018, Ms Zhou levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Mr Zhu.

He has denied all the allegations.

Last September a court in Beijing had dismissed the case filed by Ms Zhu seeking an apology and damages of 50,000 yuan (about £5,600).

The court said that the evidence was “insufficient to prove claims that Mr Zhu engaged in sexual harassment”.

On Wednesday the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said that “rejected all of Zhou’s appeals and upheld the original judgement,” reported Reuters.

“The court held that the evidence submitted by the appellant Zhou was not sufficient to prove that Zhu had sexually harassed her, and that the appeal could not be substantiated,” the court said on its official Weibo account.

While Ms Zhou has not released a statement after the court’s verdict, she posted video on her WeChat account on Tuesday.

“I have no regrets about standing up to all this, and I know that all painful feelings and hardships are precious, and I hope that you are like me, but still believe that everything has meaning,” she said in the video.

China’s #MeToo movement started in 2018 when a college student in Beijing publicly accused her professor of sexual harassment.

It spread to NGOs, media and other industries.

Since then authorities in China have tried to clamp down on the #MeToo movement by censoring posts and putting pressure on activists.

Last year a series of sexual assault and rape accusations recently has revived the conversation around the movement.

Last August Chinese-Canadian singer Kris Wu was arrested in Beijing on suspicion of rape over accusations made on social media. He has denied the allegations made online.

Also in September, a former Alibaba manager was accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague during a business trip.

However, a district court in north-eastern Shandong province ruled that the “forcible indecency” committed by the man was not a crime.

In November tennis star Peng Shuai accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her in a deleted post on Weibo,