Sexual harassment should be banned by law: expert

Updated: 2011-11-22 13:12

By Xu Pingting (

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Sexual harassment prevention and ban should be added to the new draft regulation that protects working women, said a law expert in Beijing.

The draft regulation, which the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office posted on its website on Monday, would prolong maternity leave from the current 90 days to 98 days.

"The draft regulation should add an article: Work units should take measures to prevent and forbid sexual harassment. Otherwise, the work unit should bear joint liability with the violator," Liu Minghui, law professor at China Women's University, said in Beijing Times.

A survey conducted by Women's Watch-China, a collaborative network and Beijing Zhongze Women's Legal Counseling and Service Center, showed that 23.9 percent of employees who responded had heard of or seen colleagues suffer sexual harassment, and 19.8 percent were sexually harassed, the majority of them women.

The term "sexual harassment" entered the country's legal parlance in 1995. It took another 10 years for it to become a legal term, as the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women (Amendment) was approved in 2005.

But the articles in the 2005 amendment are not enough to protect women against sexual harassment, because they don't describe sexual harassment in legal terms and are not specific on punishment measures, said Guo Jianmei, director of the center and one of China's leading public interest lawyers. Since the articles are hard to enforce, their legislative value is downgraded, he added.