Series Report on Xianzi’s litigation 01
Xianzi, the alias of a famous activist called Zhou Xiaoxuan, is widely deemed as an iconic figure in the Chinese version #me-too movement for accusing a prominent host of China's state-run media Zhu Jun of sexual assault. After a prolonged legal tussle of 3 years, the curtain fell on the 10-hour trial only with "insufficient evidence to prove the sexual assault".
Xianzi alleged Zhu Jun of groping and forcibly kissing her in a semi-enclosed dressing room when she was attending an internship in her junior year's course assignment in a TV program called Artistic Life hosted by Zhu on June 10th, 2014. It took her around 50 minutes in the dressing zoom before Yu Junjian (rather than Yan Weiwen, which was mistaken in Xianzi's initial post) entered in to indirectly facilitate her escape, which did not mean the molestation lasted for nearly 50 minutes. After the initial confusion and horror caused by the abuse, she decided to report to the police accompanied by her trusted teacher Chen Shi'ting (a pseudonym) and lawyer (the teacher's friend) on June 11th, 2014, where she made a written record, claimed the security footage and extracted DNA from her clothing.
On July 26th, 2018, she decided to make everything public by posting a WeChat (like WhatsApp in China) Moment. An hour or so later, Maishao Tongxue (Xu Chao) re-posted it on Weibo (Twitter's Chinese counterpart) from a mutual friend with Xianzi, which went viral and entailed a surge in China's anti-harassment movement.
In return, Zhu Jun denied any misconduct and had delegated his power of attorney to Beijing Xingquan law firm, which posted a lawyer's statement on August 15th, 2018, said: "After 20-day's investigation, deposition gathering, and litigation preparation, our firm charged the relevant Weibo posters formally to the Haidian District Court in Beijing on August 15th, 2018 on behalf of Mr.Zhu, the court then officially accepted this case on the same day." Two days later, Xianzi refuted Xingquan's statement and expressed the wish to come to court on Weibo, but two hours later, she claimed her last post was censored. On August 27th, Maishao and her counsel got the evidence notarized.
Zhu sued Sina(the cooperation of Weibo), Xianzi, and Maishao for defamation on September 19th, 2018. On September 25th, Xianzi got the subpoena and a copy of the indictment: Zhu requested Sina of the deletion of the slander posts and disclosure of data of their posts' transmission before deletion, plus adequate public apologies in media and combined compensations of ￥655,000 (for economic loss and mental damages, ￥155,000 and ￥500,000 respectively) along with all the litigation costs from both Xianzi and Maishao.
On the same day, Xianzi was about to submit her lawsuit against Zhu, in which she demanded Zhu to apologize to her in written form, to pay her restitution of ￥50,000 for emotional suffering and ￥10,000 for attorney's fee and other reasonable bills entailed. Interestingly, as for the cause of action, Zhu's was the dispute on the right of reputation while Xianzi's was on generic moral (personality) right.
To avoid confusion, with no offense and no intention to incite gender antagonism, the following text will refer "Zhu's case" or "his case" to the case in which Zhu is the plaintiff and "Xianzi's case" or "her case" the case in which Xianzi is the plaintiff.
On October 25th, 2018, both sides had their pretrial evidence exchange for the first time, but without the presence of Zhu himself, whose absence would persist in the subsequent legal processes regardless of Xianzi's request to the court for his presence. According to Xianzi, in a later pretrial session held on January 18th, 2019, the court rejected Zhu's demand of ending Xianzi's case or merging her case into his case. At the same time, Xianzi retrieved the record made 4 years ago and submitted two applications to the court: one is for changing the cause of action of her case to dispute on the responsibility of sexual harassment, which was introduced as the third-level cause of action parallel to its former parent item -- the dispute on the responsibility in the educational institution, in a notification issued by the Supreme Court and took effect on January 1st, 2019; the other is for taking polygraph for both sides. Both of them seem to generate no result in a retrospective view.
Given that the fact in the sexual harassment case underlies Zhu's accusation of defamation, the trial of Xianzi's case antedated Zhu's. The first session of the first trial of Xianzi's case took place on December 02nd, 2020, which was a closed-door trial. Before and during the trial, supporters and reporters were waiting at the gate of the court. After several adjournments of the second session, the court finally ruled on September 14th, 2021, with the result we saw in the beginning. Xianzi planned to lodge an appeal in the future.
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