Pranks under fire after video of celeb wedding shows actress harassment

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-6 19:48:01

Groomsmen lift up bridesmaids in Bao Beier's wedding on March 30. Photo: CFP

A video of a Chinese actress being grabbed by a bunch of actors at a wedding became a hot topic online, with experts saying that this reflects the spread of feminist ideas in China.

The 52-second video taken at the wedding ceremony of Chinese actor Bao Beier in Bali, Indonesia on March 30 shows Liu Yan, a bridesmaid, being seized by several celebrity groomsmen who then try to throw her into a pool, ignoring her protests.

The men eventually let her go when another bridesmaid reprimanded them. The video was posted online as entertainment, but soon netizens began to criticize the men.

 "Liu was definitely sexually violated, whether she said it is true or not," Luo Ruixue from the Women Awakening Network, a women's rights NGO based in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province told the Global Times.

On April 1, Liu posted a video on Sina Weibo in which she apologized to Bao for "creating some confusion," but this made many more angry.

"Liu's apology caused a hotter discussion, because she didn't do anything wrong," said Ke Qianting, an associate professor of gender studies at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

"Whether or not she was sexually violated should be determined by her own feeling," Wei Tingting, project manager of the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute told the Global Times, "but Liu's apology was made in response to pressure from social media."

Pranks on brides and grooms are common  in China and usually contain flirtatious or sexual elements. However, in some areas, especially rural regions, the pranks can become out of line, with groomsmen acting indecently towards bridesmaids, telling dirty jokes or touching them inappropriately.

Tragedies related to this practice have been reported in recent years.

In 2013, a bridesmaid in Chengzhou, Zhejiang Province was raped by two groomsmen, who were then sentenced to more than 10 years behind bars, reported.

In a wedding in Tai'an, Shandong Province, a 16-year-old bridesmaid was locked in a room, stripped and groped by 10 men in 2013, Sina reported.

The men were sentenced to one to three years in prison for indecency, though the bride claimed that this was simply a local custom.

Behind the tease

According to Luo, teasing bridesmaid is not a long-standing tradition in China, because the concept of bridesmaids comes from the West.

However, a survey by on April 4 shows that 20 percent of 1,920 Chinese netizens admitted such customs currently exist in their hometowns.

"If we dig deeper, in China, the teasing culture in weddings shows men collectively harassing women," Luo said.

When the custom of teasing bridesmaid was created, men, as the ones who tease women, dominated society, therefore some people [men] have fun in it, while some [women] were sacrificed, Ke said.

The harassment can be reflected as well from some netizens' comments on Sina Weibo.

"Liu Yan showed too much of her body, so don't blame the actors," Sina Weibo user "Vicky-Mi" posted.

"Women have their own rights, and whether it was harassment or violation, it is illegal," Luo said.

"Women should refuse to play the role of sacrifice and entertain others by suffering," Ke said.

"The joyfulness of teasing bridesmaid costs the victim's rights," Luo said.

Arousal of feminism

Even though there are some voices saying netizens overreacted, those who support Liu are still in the majority.

In a survey conducted by, 89 percent of the 1,943 respondents believed teasing bridesmaids is a bad custom.

"This event reflects that ordinary people's sense of feminism has risen," said Luo.

Online discussions of feminism have been occuring more and more frequently in China in recent years.

In March, the "A4 waist challenge" - in which people posted pictures online to show that their waist was narrower than a piece of A4 paper - faced heavy criticism.

"Using a piece of paper to measure your beauty reminds me of foot binding in feudal times," Sina Weibo user "Hannibal Bimao" said.

"We call it 'alter old customs and habits,' as more people feel the customs should be changed in order to respect participants' opinion in the event," Ke said.
Newspaper headline: Bullying bridesmaids

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