Skip to main content

Fury over Shanghai metro's warning on women's dress

By Molly Gray and Corinna Liu, for CNN
updated 5:50 AM EDT, Wed June 27, 2012
A Shanghai metro official has said that women should dress more modestly when on metro platforms such as this one.
A Shanghai metro official has said that women should dress more modestly when on metro platforms such as this one.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Shanghai metro employee says women need to dress more modestly to avoid sexual harassment in the metro
  • The post included a picture of a woman in a semi-transparent dress in a metro platform
  • The online statement came after complaints of four separate incidents of sexual harassment in June
  • Backlash against the company has populated Chinese social media sites such as Sina Weibo

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A Shanghai metro official has unleashed a wave of angry social media messages in response to a post earlier this week that scantily-clad women invite sexual harassment.

The Shanghai No. 2 Subway Co. posted the image of a woman in a semi-transparent dress on one of its platforms to the company's official Sina Weibo account with a caption warning women that if they dressed like that, they would surely be harassed.

A Weibo user who called themselves "Little Bunny" posted: "If you think a women dresses improperly, you can call the police but it doesn't mean you are free to touch her ... when harassment happens, why is the victim the first one blamed?"

Now, pictures have popped up on China's twitter-like social media site of two women, whose faces are covered by black cloth, protesting the criticism and support is pouring in.

The pictures, published on China Daily, showed a woman holding up a sign that translated to "I can be slutty, but you can't harass me," while riding on Shanghai Metro Line No. 2.

The Shanghai metro company said its intention was never to condemn women, but to educate them.

"Our initial motive behind the post was to affirm our stand against sexual harassment and gender discrimination and to remind passengers to dress appropriately in public places in order to avoid unnecessary trouble," subway official Chen Kuang told Xinhua.

The Chinese state news service also reported that sexual harassment claims on the Shanghai subway rose in the month of June. Reports included instances of indecent exposure, lewd acts and attempts at taking pictures up women's skirts.

While online support for the women was strong, Weibo users were also siding with the metro's stance.

One user who called himself "A man like me" said that that type of dress "naturally attracts sexual offenders, just like flies like rubbish."

Despite the level of public outcry, the metro company has not yet deleted the original post.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 2:01 PM EDT, Sun April 13, 2014
CNN's Brian Stelter talks with CCTV correspondent Jim Spellman on how the Chinese media has covered MH370's mystery.
China's economy has bested many others in just the past 10 years.
updated 2:02 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
In China, users of the "Life Black Box" website can set up final farewells to their friends in case they suddenly die.
updated 1:32 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
A recent university study claims Chinese micro-blogging activity might not be as vibrant as expected.
updated 6:14 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Chinese art has been fetching some serious cash -- here's how we can elbow into the market
updated 10:51 PM EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
A Shanghainese collector paid $36 million for this tiny cup decorated with chickens.
updated 2:57 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
Ben Richardson on corruption in China: a veil of secrecy shrouds the links between power and wealth.
China's economy is slowing and growth in 2014 could fall short of the government's official target, according to a CNNMoney survey of economists.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is the first foreigner to visit the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.
updated 9:26 PM EDT, Sun April 6, 2014
If the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 caused a rift in China-Malaysia relations, the two countries appear to have put it behind them.
updated 1:17 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Martin Jacques argues that in the twenty-first century, China will challenge our perception of what it is to be modern.
A new survey of university students in China shows where they most want to work. What are the dream employers for Chinese students?
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
What are President Xi Jinping's greatest goals as he visits the EU headquarters in Brussels?
Last year, thousands of Chinese tourists flocked to Yellowstone National Park to view the mountains, the buffalo and Old Faithful.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
A senior Bloomberg News journalist quit his role earlier this month, saying the "mishandling" by his bosses of a story critical of China was behind his departure.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
"The aim is to let [families of MH370 passengers] express anger while keeping them restrained," says a Chinese official.
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama's secret weapon in China? Michelle.
updated 10:53 PM EDT, Wed March 26, 2014
Private schools that employ humanistic pedagogy for young children are becoming popular in China. A look at the factors behind the boom and potential pitfalls.
ADVERTISEMENT