The Beijing police have issued new guidelines advising women to cover up and avoid wearing “minimal clothing” while using public transportation in order to avoid sexual harassment, China Daily reported on Wednesday.
The state-run paper said that the Beijing Public Security Bureau’s traffic department said in new guidelines that “women should not wear minimal clothing, such as mini skirts or hot pants when taking public transportation.”
The police further advised women not to “sit on higher levels of buses and to stand on lower stairs, to avoid being the target of inappropriate picture-taking, and they should shelter their bodies with bags, magazines and newspapers.”Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
If sexual harassment does occur, the Beijing police advised that “women can move to areas with more passengers to ask for help, or they can push men as buses and subways brake.”
While telling women they should promptly call the police if they become a victim of sexual harassment, China Daily quoted a local police officer as saying, “"It is hard for us to collect evidence in sexual harassment cases despite cameras on buses and subways."
The same officer told China Daily that the police would “warn, fine and detain perpetrators of sexual harassment in accordance with a security control regulation,” but said that the heaviest punishment those convicted of sexual harassment face is a 15 day detention.
The director of the security department of one of the companies under Beijing Public Transport Holdings Ltd. also told China Daily that the best method of protection was ensuring that conductors and drivers remind women to cover themselves up while taking public transportation.
Saying that all his company could do was inform police of complaints of sexual harassment, the same individual reminded China Daily readers that, “"as a transport company, our main job is to take passengers to their destinations."
Two law experts interviewed by the paper disagreed with the employee’s opinion, arguing that the company had a responsibility to ensure a safe environment for its customers and saying the law should do more to prevent sexual harassment.
South China Morning Post reports that women frequently complain of being groped and suffering other forms of sexual harassment while riding Beijing’s crowded buses and subway trains.