Yue Xin and Peking University — A Female Student Fought for Right to Know in College

Yue Xin and Peking University

Earlier this year, the hashtag “me too” movement was introduced to China by Luo Xixi, a female student who was sexually assaulted by her professor when she was attending college 10 years ago. She posted about this incident on Weibo, and she added the hashtag “me too” at the end of the post. The Weibo post soon started trending on the internet in China. Today, we will introduce a post-“me too” incident in China – Yue Xin and Peking University.

The Me Too Movement is against sexual harassment and assault. It first started on Twitter. An American actress Alyssa Milano made it popular on the internet. She encouraged women who suffered from sexual abuse and harassment to spread the hashtag. In this way, by showing how many people have experienced sexual assaults, the hashtag will help reveal the extent of problems.

Peking University

Peking University

To respond to the Me Too Movement, students from Peking University revealed an incident from 20 years ago. A female student named Gao Yan suicided. Based on her posthumous papers, she had been sexually assaulted by a Chinese language professor, Shen Yang. Peking University soon responded to it. Since Shen Yang had already transferred to Nanjing University, his current employer made a statement that Shen Yang was suggested to leave his position as a Chinese language professor. The Shanghai Normal University, which planned to invite Shen Yang as its guest professor, also said: “the university will not let any sex harassers stand on the teacher’s platform”.

The responses from those universities gained very positive feedbacks from Chinese netizens: “I’m glad to see that the Chinese universities are finally taking this seriously. I hope there will be less and fewer students suffering from unwanted sexual attention.”

However, an open letter from a student of the Peking University, named Yue Xin broke the pleasant scene. Yue Xin was one of the eight college students who wasn’t satisfied by the statement made by the Peking University. They requested a more thorough investigation regarding Gao Yan’s suicide and Shen Yang’s crime.

Yue Xin’s Open Letter

“I love my mother. My heart was bleeding when I saw her kneeling down and crying, slapping herself in front me. She begged me, even threatened me with killing herself. I could only return home temporarily. However, I won’t give in when it’s a matter of principles. Giving in can’t solve any actual problems. There was nothing I could do besides writing down this statement to tell the true story.” Yue Xin told it as the prime motivation of her writing the open letter.

“I am Yue Xin from the Peking University. I am one of the eight students who submitted the ‘Information Disclosure Application’ form to Peking University.” Yue Xin introduced herself at the beginning of the letter. “I wrote this letter down with my extremely tired body. I want to make something happened to me recently clear.”

“Since April 9th, I have been constantly ‘talked to’ by people from the department of student affairs and some college leaders. During the ‘talk’, they mentioned several times that ‘whether you could graduate smoothly or not’, ‘what are your mother and grandmother’s opinions on you doing this’, ‘staffs from the student affairs department have the right to contact with your parents without your permission’. I have been working on my graduation paper recently. The consistent interruptions and my mental stress gave a very bad impact on my paper writing.”

Professor Shen Yang

Professor Shen Yang

“On April 20th, I was replied by the college. Under the witnesses of student affairs staffs, the secretary of the party committee and my class lead teacher, the secretary read the reply from the college regarding my application for requesting information disclosure.”
“First, the meeting which discussed the teacher’s ethics of Shen Yang wasn’t qualified for being recorded. Second, the investigation results from the police department were not supposed to be accessed by the college. Third, the public apology from Shen Yang was lost because of the fault of Chinese Language Department.”

“The reply disappointed me. But with the deadline for my graduation paper approaching, I have no choice but focusing on my study for now.”

Then Yue Xin narrated the incident happened on the night of April 22nd. “Around 11 pm that day, my college counselor called me. I didn’t pick up the phone call because It was too late. However, two hours later, the counselor and my mother came to my dormitory room and they woke me up. They asked me to delete all the contents in my phone and computer about me applying for the information disclosure about Shen Yang. They also asked me to make a written promise to the department of student affairs that I would stop involving myself in it. Later, I was sent home with my parent. I still cannot return to school by now. My classmates from the same floor level can prove it.”

“My mother and I can’t sleep all night. The college made up stories about me when they contacted my mother. She was terrified. Her emotion was extremely unstable. Our relationship was almost broken because of what the college has done to us. The college broke the deals. I am scared and angry.”

“What’s wrong with asking for making some information public? I haven’t done anything evil. I won’t regret submitting the application. I was justing exercising my rights as a college student.”

“I love my mother. My heart was bleeding when I saw her kneeling down and crying, slapping herself in front me. She begged me, even threatened me with killing herself. I could only return home temporarily. However, I won’t give in when it’s a matter of principles. Giving in can’t solve any actual problems. There was nothing I could do besides writing down this statement to tell the true story.”

At the end of the letter, Yue Xin listed 5 requests for the Peking University regarding the incident.

“First, the Peking University should explain to the public about the reasons for assaulting me and my family. Second, the university shall apology to my mother and tells her the truth. They should help me fix the relationship between my family members. Third, the university shall give me a written promise that there won’t be any bad effects on my upcoming graduation. And they shall not continue interrupting my paper writing. Fourth, the university shall erase all the negative effects of my continue studies, job hunting, and my family relationship. Fifth, the university shall give me a written reply regarding all my requests above to respond everyone who is following this incident.”

Yue Xin said she would reserve all the rights including but not limit to reporting the unlawful acts of Peking University to the upper-level departments.

Voices from Other Students

In the evening of the same day Yue Xin posted the public letter, a handwritten Dazibao (Big character poster) was published in the campus of Peking University. “Supporting the warrior Yue Xin” was the title, signed by

“We antonyms admire the dignity and braveness of Yue Xin. We want to ask the school administrators, what are you afraid of? Yue Xin was afraid that the school will abandon the spirit of the May Fourth New Culture Movement [1]. But the school is afraid of ‘chaos’ on its anniversary day. Do we want to ask, who are the two sides in this battle? We would say that it is a battle between two Peking Universities.”

Yue Xin’s story soon gained attention on the Internet. Her public letter was deleted by Chinese internet police in a short time. However, it still gave people enough time to forward it to foreign websites. Even the contents would be deleted quickly, people still showed their supports to Yue Xin by posting screenshots, pictures, and articles.

Peking University student made big character poster to support Yue Xin

Peking University student made big character poster to support Yue Xin

An article titled “The Precious Youths” said, “People got angry on the ‘small matter’ of the university. They failed to cherish and praise those excellent youths. They could have turned this place a better one, or bring hope and power to the world. Now they were disapproved by the authorities. Their independent personalities have been violated. The authorities hurt the families they loved. The students’ autonomic behaviors were interrupted. All the supporting voices had been cracked down.”

“It disappointed everyone that the universities, which are supposed to turn their students into independent individuals and encourage free speech, were trying to house train their students. They were trying everything to turn young students’ enthusiasm upon public affairs into Cynicism. The purpose was dispelling the spirits and powers of public movements and speeches.”

Another internet article titled “You Are the Model of My Children” said, “Twenty years ago, the Peking University let the immoral professor Shen Yang go, because they don’t want to mess up the anniversary of the university. It made Gao Yan died in vain. Now, the university was celebrating its anniversary again. This time they put a girl named Yue Xin under house confinement. They even threatened her mother. These two incidents were deeply related because Yue Xin was suffered for requesting public the information about Shen Yang’s case. How could the Peking University be so powerful? Twenty years ago, a student’s life was less important than its birthday. As for now, a student’s freedom and well-being were less important than its birthday…”

An Internet article titled “People who understand it need not say” said, “What Yue Xin has been suffering is a certain result under this system. There won’t be another possibility. The people who can survive in this system always follow two rules—they only answer to the higher authorities who grant them power. And they will do anything to safeguard their own benefits. Since the students can’t carry the professors or other college employees to a better position, they don’t need to bother caring about the rights of students.”

“The system is more powerful than you could ever imagine. It is an honor to fight with it. We still believe that the dignity within the generation after generation will finally get together. The power will finally change the direction of the tides.”

A Week after Yue Xin’s Open Letter

Yue Xin wrote another letter one week after she posted the first open letter. At the beginning of the second letter, she showed her gratitude to all the people, both online and offline, who supported her.

Yue Xin's note after she is back to Peking University

Yue Xin’s note after she is back to Peking University

She also mentioned that a student named Li Yiming from the Peking University wrote a joint letter to collect signatures from students and teachers.

“I made dreams about my friends and classmates being assaulted for writing Dazibao, signing letters, posting articles. I am afraid that my own mistakes affected all them.” Yue Xin said it in her second letter.

Yue Xin mentioned that she was still in the shock when she wrote the first letter. Therefore she added some details about what happened that night. She wrote down most of the conversations between her and the college staffs, also the details about her being accused with “colluding with foreign organizations”.

Yue Xin also wrote about the differences between her version and the college’s version of the story. She shared her thoughts and struggling during the week.

At the end of the second letter, Yue Xin said that she would continue to stand up for the victims. “I can’t let the next Gao Yan bear the insult until the last moment of her life.” She said in the letter.

“I’m just an ordinary person who did an ordinary thing. I don’t deserve to be called ‘hero’. If people like me were heroes, it only showed the abnormalities of this age.”

“I wish I could protect and help more people.”

“I hope Peking University can be better and better. I hope that one day, the spirits of Peking University could be back to us.”

Summary
Article Name
Yue Xin and Peking University — A Female Student Fought for Right to Know in College
Description
Earlier this year, the hashtag “me too” movement was introduced to China by Luo Xixi, it has spread in China and encouraged a lot of women to protect their rights. However, we will introduce a post me too incident today - Yue Xin and Peking University. Read on.
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