World Cup TV kiss sparks social media debate in China

Social media users in China are debating whether a male South Korean reporter being kissed by female fans during the World Cup is “sexual harassment”.

The video clip shows Jeon Gwang-ryeol, a MBN (a South Korean TV channel) reporter broadcasting in Russia on 28 June, being kissed on the cheek twice by female Russian fans.

The reporter tried to laugh the kisses off but looked embarrassed after the incident which occurred days after other supporters were criticised for trying to kiss a female reporter live on TV.

A debate about the incident emerged on Weibo, China’s largest social networking site, with Weibo users asking why the actions of some Russian female fans were not being criticised in the same way as their male counterparts.

“It is a very sharp contrast with the previous news,” one Weibo user said.

“Why is this not sexual harassment?” asked another, whose comment received hundreds of likes.

“If it’s a good looking person (kissing), it’s not called sexual harassment,” one person wrote sarcastically.

Other users “called for equality between men and women” and said that the response to this incident shows that inequalities still exist.

Some users also had a problem with the media using the term “beauties” when referring to the women.

While the kiss was a subject of debate in China, it failed to draw much attention in South Korea where only MBN and its affiliated media outlets covered the story.

However one South Korean Twitter did join the discussion posting: “Regardless of your gender, you get sexually harassed. An MBN journalist went to Russia to cover the World Cup and he was sexually harassed by two women.”

In the last few months stories about sexual assault have been widely discussed on Weibo with many people accusing the authorities of not taking it seriously.

Last week a video, stressing that “men and women, young and old” can all be subjected to sexual assault, went viral and sparked another debate on social media.

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