Is Eric Tsang China’s Har­vey We­in­stein?

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Fred Cloud

The groundswell of sexual harassment al­le­ga­tions made by the “si­lence break­ers,” the Time magazine’s Per­son of the Year for 2017, re­cently gripped Hong Kong. Eric Tsang, a 64-year-old celebrity with huge in­flu­ence in Hong Kong en­ter­tain­ment, re­cently found him­self in a sim­i­lar predica­ment as Har­vey We­in­stein.

At the cen­ter of the furor is a video in­ter­view first pub­lished in 2013 where ac­tress Yam­mie Lam claimed she was raped by two movie moguls about 20 or 30 years ago. The names of the al­leged per­pe­tra­tors were erased dur­ing the video’s first air­ing, but ear­lier this month, an un­cen­sored ver­sion of it sur­faced. Tsang was men­tioned in the re­porter’s ques­tions, which were ap­par­ently con­firmed by Lam, as one of the rapists.

In re­sponse to the ac­cu­sa­tion and mount­ing public out­cry, Tsang held a press con­fer­ence on Jan­uary 17, where he ve­he­mently de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion. The au­then­tic­ity of the video has been doubted by some who pointed out that Lam never said specif­i­cally in the video that Tsang raped her, the names of the per­pe­tra­tors be­ing all men­tioned by the re­porter.

Lam has been strug­gling with men­tal prob­lems since the mid-90s, which some claimed stemmed from her rape or­deal, but Lam sounded lu­cid enough in the video in ques­tion.

Crazy talk or not, Lam’s al­leged rape has whipped up quite a storm among so­cial me­dia users in China, many of whom be­lieve she was telling the truth be­cause “a woman can­not lie about be­ing raped,” and lament in su­per­fi­cial sym­pa­thy about how a gor­geous girl with a promis­ing fu­ture was re­duced to men­tal in­sta­bil­ity by an ugly short man.

What do looks have to do with rape?

The ready ac­cep­tance of the nar­ra­tive from a woman and dis­missal of the ac­cused man’s de­nial be­trays a bias that only women tell the truth. Shouldn’t equal cre­dence and skep­ti­cism be granted to both sides of the story un­til the truth is out? What hap­pened to in­no­cent un­til proven guilty? Al­le­ga­tions are not ver­dicts. It’s true many a pow­er­ful male have been proven guilty of tak­ing ad­van­tage of women. Those shame­less men should be con­demned in the strong­est terms pos­si­ble and be duly pun­ished for their re­pul­sive in­de­cen­cies. The fact that this har­row­ing epi­demic of sexual harassment must be stopped now shouldn’t au­to­mat­i­cally val­i­date any and all claims brought for­ward by women against men in high places. In other words, women can play the sexual scan­dal card. A case in point is Jamie Philips, a woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Repub­li­can US Se­nate can­di­date in Alabama, im­preg­nated her as a teenager. Jump­ing to the con­clu­sion that a man must be guilty be­cause a woman said so is from the spring­board that women are weak and tend to be ex­ploited. Real gen­der equal­ity means no gen­der­based pre­sump­tions and view­ing both gen­ders in ab­so­lutely equal terms. To be­lieve a woman’s claim of sexual as­sault sim­ply be­cause it is made by a woman is a sub­tle form of sex­ism. I’m all for the #MeToo move­ment, but some­times we need to take a step back from the in­dig­na­tion and lis­ten to what sense has to say. Is Tsang guilty as charged? As of now, your guess is as good as mine.

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