Court Rules Against Man Falsely Accused of Upskirting on Metro
A court in the southwestern city of Chengdu in Sichuan province has dismissed a lawsuit brought about by a man falsely accused of upskirting on the metro, after he tried to get an apology and compensation from his accusers and the metro company.
The ruling comes after several incidents of alleged upskirting in China’s metro systems made national headlines in June.
According to the Chengdu Railway Transport No. 1 Court, on June 11, two women surnamed Luo and Zeng accused the man, surnamed He, of taking upskirt photos after they spotted light coming from his shoes. When police were called, they concluded that there were no cameras installed in the shoes.
Luo and Zeng apologized to He at the scene and offered to pay for his commuting costs, but He rejected their apologies. In August, He sued the women and the metro operator, demanding a public statement of apology broadcast in the metro station where the incident happened for ten consecutive days, as well as a payment of 50,000 yuan ($6,960) in compensation for damages and mental harm.
In its first-instance decision handed down Tuesday, the court ruled that the two women and the metro operator acted in accordance with the law, noting their apologies to He once it was confirmed that he had not been taking upskirt photos.
As for He’s accusation that the two women infringed his personality rights, the court blamed He himself for posting misleading information online in the aftermath of the incident.
He regularly posts updates of his legal case on his account on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, which he launched a day after the incident. He now has more than 247,000 followers.
In a video posted Wednesday, he said he is considering an appeal.
Chinese authorities have rolled out several campaigns to tackle sexual harassment on metro systems. However, several false accusations have created a backlash against female accusers and their supporters.
Several days before the Chengdu incident, a Sichuan University student apologized after falsely accusing a migrant worker of taking upskirt photos on the metro in the southern city of Guangzhou.
The incident sparked widespread criticism of the student and Sichuan University, including boycotts of Sichuan University graduates among firms. The university resisted calls for the expulsion of the student and placed her on probation instead.
The Chengdu court ruling has divided netizens, with a related hashtag quickly trending on microblogging platform Weibo on Tuesday. Some supported the court for protecting the women despite their mistake: “Both men and women should be supported in defending their own rights and interests … many who are secretly photographed are actually unaware or afraid to speak out,” one top comment read. However, others have accused the court of discriminating against men.
Editor: Vincent Chow.
(Header image: IC)