Editor’s note: A version of this post first appeared on the Beijinger, a leading source of English-language lifestyle information on the city of Beijing.
The woman involved in the sexual molestation case that landed a Beijing high-tech executive in jail for five days says she’s just a student seeking justice and not a wanghong (网红 or internet celebrity in English) using the incident to get more popular.
Zhang Yang Yang accused Galaxy S Chief Operating Officer Li Yuanjie of groping her breast on a January 3rd red-eye flight from Shenzhen to Beijing. She recently told her side of the story via on online streaming broadcast on huajiao.com and in interviews with The Mirror.
Zhang says she’s nothing but a student and was unkempt and not wearing revealing clothing at the time of the incident. She adds that she’s not using this event to advance her online popularity and insists she’s only after a face-to-face apology from Li.
Li previously denied the molestation, saying that he had even moved out of the way after Zhang had swung a leg in his direction while asleep in her seat next to him. However, he has quit over the allegations and Galaxy S has publicly apologized on their official Weibo account.
After the incident, many online commenters found Zhang’s online streaming channel on huajiao.com and speculated that she had in some way staged or used the incident to drum up new followers. Zhang says that she wants to stand up for other female friends who have encountered this same situation and tell them not to back down, even though many people might stigmatize them.
Zhang initially reported the incident via a Weibo account she had set up specifically to document the incident. Later she live streamed details of the incident via Huajiao, but has been deleting her account history after each successive broadcast.
“At the time I decided to create a second, smaller account to broadcast this incident – I didn’t use my large [main] account,” she described. Zhang erased her posting and broadcasting history for fear that people would accuse her of making the accusations just for publicity’s sake.
After making the broadcast, she once again deleted the content of the account. The Mirror journalists noted however that her account had been gifted 160,000 “Huajiao coins,” currency used on site for users to “tip” broadcasters they like. One Huajiao coin is the equivalent of 1/10th of RMB 1, so the broadcast likely netted Yang Yang somewhere close to RMB 16,000, The Mirror concluded.
However, she denied being paid directly by huajiao.com for her efforts and has never signed any contracts to do any broadcasts.
At this point, it is unclear who did what and whether this is all just a publicity stunt. However, we here at TechNode wonder if she was not a wanghong (网红 or internet celebrity in English) whether this story would have gotten as much traction as it has. Sexual harassment is a big problem in China with some research saying that youthfulness and having a paid job is enough to become a target. We have talked a lot about live streaming and the only thing for certain in this story is the greater role live streaming is going to play in China’s digital evolution.
Image credits: The Mirror