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Fury over Shanghai metro's warning on women's dress

By Molly Gray and Corinna Liu, for CNN
June 27, 2012 -- Updated 0950 GMT (1750 HKT)
A Shanghai metro official has said that women should dress more modestly when on metro platforms such as this one.
A Shanghai metro official has said that women should dress more modestly when on metro platforms such as this one.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Shanghai metro employee says women need to dress more modestly to avoid sexual harassment in the metro
  • The post included a picture of a woman in a semi-transparent dress in a metro platform
  • The online statement came after complaints of four separate incidents of sexual harassment in June
  • Backlash against the company has populated Chinese social media sites such as Sina Weibo

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A Shanghai metro official has unleashed a wave of angry social media messages in response to a post earlier this week that scantily-clad women invite sexual harassment.

The Shanghai No. 2 Subway Co. posted the image of a woman in a semi-transparent dress on one of its platforms to the company's official Sina Weibo account with a caption warning women that if they dressed like that, they would surely be harassed.

A Weibo user who called themselves "Little Bunny" posted: "If you think a women dresses improperly, you can call the police but it doesn't mean you are free to touch her ... when harassment happens, why is the victim the first one blamed?"

Now, pictures have popped up on China's twitter-like social media site of two women, whose faces are covered by black cloth, protesting the criticism and support is pouring in.

The pictures, published on China Daily, showed a woman holding up a sign that translated to "I can be slutty, but you can't harass me," while riding on Shanghai Metro Line No. 2.

The Shanghai metro company said its intention was never to condemn women, but to educate them.

"Our initial motive behind the post was to affirm our stand against sexual harassment and gender discrimination and to remind passengers to dress appropriately in public places in order to avoid unnecessary trouble," subway official Chen Kuang told Xinhua.

The Chinese state news service also reported that sexual harassment claims on the Shanghai subway rose in the month of June. Reports included instances of indecent exposure, lewd acts and attempts at taking pictures up women's skirts.

While online support for the women was strong, Weibo users were also siding with the metro's stance.

One user who called himself "A man like me" said that that type of dress "naturally attracts sexual offenders, just like flies like rubbish."

Despite the level of public outcry, the metro company has not yet deleted the original post.

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