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In a first, Chinese student sues university and professor for alleged sexual assault

The Chinese student sued Nanchang University in eastern Jiangxi province for allegedly failing to protect her from repeated assaults by the professor.

world Updated: Jul 19, 2018 07:45 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Chinese student sexual assault,China sexual assault,China university
The student has alleged that professor Zhou Bin sexually assaulted her in 2016 for about seven months.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

A graduate student has become the first person in China to sue her university and a professor after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by the teacher for several months in 2016.

The student sued Nanchang University in eastern Jiangxi province for allegedly failing to protect her from repeated assaults by the professor.

The student, “a graduate of Nanchang University, filed a lawsuit on July 11 against the university and Zhou Bin, a professor who allegedly sexually assaulted her in 2016 for about seven months”, China Women’s News reported.

According to court documents, the victim said the university, as an institution of higher learning, should provide virtuous teachers. The University removed Zhou in 2017 as deputy head of its Academy of Chinese Classics and suspended him, the report said.

“The university has failed to offer adequate security and protection as the Ministry of Education requires, which led to Zhou's behaviour. It should be held liable as well,” the report said.

The student demanded that the professor should “pay her 140,000 yuan ($20,969) in damages, including 10,000 yuan for psychological consultations, 80,000 yuan for therapy and 50,000 yuan for mental distress”.

“My psychological condition is bad, often immersed in fear and confusion. I often have nightmares. The university can pay my psychological consulting fee first and then seek money from Zhou,” the student wrote on her Sina Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) this week.

The court has to review the lawsuit within a week and decide whether to accept it.

Last month, the suicide of a sexually harassed teenager, who jumped to her death from a building in central Gansu province, triggered an online debate after videos showed onlookers egging her to take the leap as she sat on a window ledge.

The victim was allegedly targeted by her high school teacher and decided to commit suicide after authorities failed to act against the accused.

“And although many legal experts say the procuratorate has the power to decide not to sue a suspect, the case (of suicide) should teach a lesson to judicial staff, too, namely to be more cautious in cases such as sexual abuse, because the psychological wounds might be deeper than they appear. We hope such cases are treated seriously in the future so as to prevent any similar tragedies,” state-controlled China Daily said in a recent editorial.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 07:26 IST