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Chongqing's First Sexual Harassment Case Concluded Under China's Civil Code


Chongqing- The Chongqing Jiangjin District People’s Court recently concluded its first sexual harassment damage liability case since the implementation of China’s Civil Code.

After mediation, the defendant compensated the plaintiff with 1,000 yuan for mental damage.

The incident originated when a woman known as Zhang was hospitalized in Jiangjin District. A man surnamed Jiang, who stayed in the same hospital, sexually harassed her when she was weak and unconscious. The local police bureau immediately gave Jiang an administrative punishment of 15 days’ detention after Zhang’s report.

Zhang believed that she had been insulted and felt traumatized, which Jiang should compensate for. She then sued Jiang in the Jiangjin District Court and demanded compensation for emotional distress due to humiliation and mental damage.

The court held that following the provisions of the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China, in the event of sexual harassment against another person’s will by words, characters, images, or physical acts, the victim has the right to request the actor to assume civil liability according to the law.

Sexual harassment is a serious problem that cannot be ignored in society. Different from criminal acts such as forced obscenity in China’s Criminal Law, the form of sexual harassment is not limited to violence and coercion. Still, it is more embodied in non-violent, such as physical contact, showing pornographic images, online sexual harassment, telephone sexual harassment, and so on.

In this case, Jiang’s behaviors not only violated Zhang’s personality rights, resulting in the violation of her dignity but also caused her to suffer mental distress. Zhang had the right to request Jiang bear civil liability accordingly.

According to the judge in charge, the public should enhance their awareness of self-protection and legal rights protection and never be a “silent lamb” when suffering violence.

It is important to retain evidence and call the police for citizens to protect their legitimate rights and interests through civil litigation.

The Civil Code took effect on Jan 1, 2021. It has six parts: real rights, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, inheritance, and tort liabilities. The English version of the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China has been published by US publishers, offering readers worldwide an authoritative reference book on the landmark law.

(Wang Yuxuan, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)


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