A woman who took matters—and a mop—into her own hands after alleged workplace harassment is being hailed as a hero by Internet users in China. In a 14-minute video, the government employee in northeast China hits her boss with a mop, pours water on him, and throws books in his direction, the South China Morning Post reports. Using some very strong language, she accuses the man of harassing her and other women in the office with text messages. "It was just a joke," complains the man as he tries to apologize. He was identified as the deputy director of the poverty alleviation department of a district in Heilongjiang province. According to state media, the man was fired from the office and his position in the Communist Party for "lifestyle violations of discipline."
Officials said the woman has a mental illness and will not be punished. She was widely praised online after the video went viral. "When women get harassed in the workplace, they have to get tough," one commentator wrote. Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, tells the New York Times that while China introduced a law against sexual harassment in 2005, it is very rare for harassers to be punished, and accusers sometimes face counter-lawsuits. "If the case just boils down to witness accounts, the court often rules that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the harassment occurred," says Longarino. The woman reportedly filed a police report last week; Longarino says the fact that the man admitted the harassment on video will help the woman's case. (Read more China stories.)