A 21-year-old student from the University of Minnesota Liu Jingyao accused the head of the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com of having drunk her at a dinner party and then raping her in her apartment in the United States.
The company that called the charges “meritless” said said it would defend itself vigourously.
Liu Jingyao is a business economics student at Tsinghua University in Beijing and was in the US as part of her course at the time of the alleged incident in August 2018.
Richard Liu was attending a business doctoral program at the University of Minnesota, for which Liu Jingyao was a volunteer.
Liu was arrested in August last year.
In December, US prosecutors dropped the charge, citing “profound evidentiary problems ”which would make it difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” the harassment.
The new lawsuit against Liu was filed in Minnesota and sparked a support campaign, with two hashtags on Weibo that gathered more than 15 million views in a few days: #HereForJingyao and #IAmNotAPerfectVictimEither (#woyebushiwanmeishouhaizhe).
“I don’t want to analyze Jingyao if her actions and personality were ‘normal’ “, wrote a Weibo user.
“I just hope more women can … be together.” “The culture of rape emphasizes a” perfect victim “,” wrote a Weibo user.
“The logic is that you have to dress well, bite your tongue and die rather than be raped … No, I’m not the perfect victim you want! Why am I being bullied and blamed for being imperfect?”
A video has recently emerged showing Jingyao and Liu drinking together at a business dinner in Minneapolis and then walking arm in arm in his apartment building.
A lawyer for Richard Liu told the Associated Press that the clips dispelled widespread “misinformation” about the alleged abuse of his client Social media users have released an online petition in support of Liu Jingyao – who had collected more than 1,000 signatures starting Wednesday.
The petition is hosted on a Google document, but most Chinese do not have VPNs to access to Google. Reports of censorship attempts have emerged: the messaging app WeChat has begun blocking conversations, an act that recalls the online censorship that is facing the #Metoo movement in China. “Yesterday my public account [on Wechat] was banned due to an article collecting signatures in favor of Jingyao,” reported the user Camus of the Douban platform at the Guardian.
After #MeToo, awareness of people on sexual harassment has increased and Chinese women have learned to believe testimonials from people like Liu Jingyao, said Sophia Huang, a women’s rights activist in Guangzhou.