A Chinese man has been jailed for five months for sexually harassing a subordinate - the first time anyone has been punished for the offence under new laws to protect women.
Complaints have been rising in China since laws banning harassment and domestic violence were introduced three years ago. Previously the small number of incidents that led to legal cases were resolved through civil law, according to an expert.
The man, a manager named as Liu, from Sichuan province, invited a new female colleague to "discuss work matters" in his office, but then told her he wanted to be her boyfriend, the Beijing News said, citing a local newspaper. When she turned him down, he held her by the neck and kissed her. Colleagues called the police after hearing her scream and struggle with him.
According to a 2005 survey reported in state media, only 21% of women said they had never faced sexual harassment. Another survey, by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, found that harassment was twice as prevalent in foreign or private enterprises as in state-owned enterprises, with 40% of private employees reporting problems.
Li Ying, deputy director of the Centre for Women's Law and Legal Services at Peking University, said that complaints were rising as women became more aware of legal rights.
She added: "This is a global problem, but in China there is not enough approval, understanding and tolerance.
"People still wonder if there is a problem with the individual if you have been harassed, and they are not understanding or tolerant enough. So lots of people are afraid to openly talk about it. And many concerned parties choose to settle because they are afraid that their husbands or families cannot understand it."
According to the state news agency Xinhua, only 10 sexual harassment cases were brought in the five years before the new law, and only one was successful.
Editor: canton fair