BEIJING, Aug. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- China's legislature
Sunday passed amendments to the law on women's rights protection, which
"prohibits sexual harassment of women" and empowers women to "lodge complaints"
to relevant organizations.
"This is the first time the issue of sexual
harassment has been written into Chinese law," said Wu Changzhen, professor at
the China University of Political Science and Law. "It provides the legal basis
for handling such issues."
For a long time, "sexual harassment" has been
regarded as a moral issue rather than a legal one in China. Of the nearly 10
sexual harassment cases that entered legal proceedings since 2001,only one
In a survey of more than 8,000 Chinese people,
jointly conducted by two major media organizations Sina and Fortnight, 78
percent of the men said they had never experienced sexual harassment while the
ratio was 21 percent for women.
A survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences shows nearly 40 percent of women in private businesses and
foreign-funded businesses has experienced sexual harassment.
Chinese law experts call the new clause an
improvement in China's legal system, noting the system now strives to provide
all-round protection to people, both physically and psychologically.
According to the amendments passed at a meeting of
the Standingcommittee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the State
Council, or the cabinet, will work out China Development Program for Women and
local government across the country will map out development planning for women.
The state should also work to gradually improve the
ratio of women in the seats of the NPC and people's congresses at various
The amendments, to take effect from Dec. 1, 2005,
also containsa clause that states "granting men and women equal status is a
basic state policy of the country. The state will adopt necessary measures to
gradually improve various systems to guarantee the rights and interests of women
and remove all sorts of discrimination against women."
New stipulations on women's issues in the amendments
also include political rights, employment, birth insurance and domesticviolence.