Chinese professor dismissed over sexual harassment

Chen Xiaowu, a professor at Beihang University in Beijing, has been dismissed from his post as executive vice-president of Beihang's Graduate School following the confirmation of accusations of sexual harassment, the university reported late on Thursday, the day before a student at another university made allegations of sexual harassment against a professor.

Chen's qualifications as a teacher were revoked, according to the report.

Beihang University said that no behaviour violating norms or ethics is allowed at Beihang, and a mechanism to supervise teachers will be established.

Chen was investigated by the university's discipline inspection commission after his former doctoral student Luo Qianqian accused him of sexual harassment on Sina Weibo in early January.

Luo said that Chen attempted to have sex with her after luring her to his sister's apartment 12 years ago. Chen kept threatening her during her time in Beihang, causing her to be depressed and rely on anti-depressants to get through the day.

Luo and five other victims who were sexually harassed by Chen submitted evidence, including voice recordings, to the university.

In a Weibo posting on Friday, Luo said she appreciated the efforts that the victims and counsel made in pushing forward the investigation.

"Chen's behaviour is a breach of administrative discipline and the norms of being a teacher," said Ruan Chuansheng, a law professor at the Party School of Shanghai CPC Committee.

"But it's difficult to investigate if it is filed as a criminal case by the police. It's hard to get evidence for what Luo experienced 12 years ago," he said.

Sexual harassment can involve flirtatious words or actions that are ambiguous to define according to laws or regulation, according to Ruan.

"Sexual harassment is banned according to the Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of Women," said Hu Xuemei, law professor of East University of Political Science and Law. "It is a behaviour encroaching on people's willingness to have sex."

As netizens hailed Beihang University's decision on Thursday night, another woman stood up to speak for herself.

An anonymous college student in Beijing accused a professor at the University of International Business and Economics of sexual harassment in an online post on Friday. She also sent emails to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Commerce.

The tipster said that she was lured to the professor's apartment in early 2016 and he tried to have a relationship with her, kissed her and tore her sweater. She also wrote in the email that the professor promised to help her become a diplomat while he kept flirting with her and even sent her a picture of his genitals in May.

The University of International Business and Economics said on Friday that the professor has been called back from abroad for an investigation, and the result will be announced to the public as soon as it finishes.

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