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Zhejiang Passes Amendment to Sexual Harassment Law
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A risque joke, a suggestive text message, a naughty email. Any one of these could end up landing an amorous male in east China's Zhejiang Province in court if the object of his affections takes offence.


The Zhejiang provincial legislative body on Thursday passed an amendment to its implementation of the country's law to protect women's rights, stipulating that, from September 1, a woman can file a sexual harassment lawsuit against a man if he oversteps the line in conversation or during online chat or via text message.


Those who are found guilty of sexual harassment of women will be punished by public security departments or even held criminally responsible, according to the new regulation.


The law also states, "Women who feel they are being sexually harassed can report their cases to their employers, public security departments or women federations who should take measures to stop the harassment."


"In recent years, the cases of sending pornographic text messages and pictures via cell phones or the Internet are on rise," said Deng Weixia, a law official with the provincial people's congress.


"Thus the legislature has added the new forms of sexual harassment into the amendment in addition to the traditional form of physical contact," Deng said.


But law experts say there are still difficulties in implementing the law as evidence for sexual harassment is difficult to collect.


"Except for long and frequent sexual harassment, it is impossible for the victims to always have video cameras or recorders on their person, which poses problems for future lawsuits," said lawyer Luo Zhonghong.


China first stipulated the prohibition of sexual harassment of women in its women's rights protection law on December 1, 2005. Experts argue the law lacks specific details in the definition of sexual harassment.


(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2007)

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