The president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) has resigned after a former friend accused him of sexual misconduct.

Foreign journalists in China called for Jonathan Kaiman to respond publicly after law student Laura Tucker posted an account on Thursday of an incident from 2013, in which she said Kaiman had pressured her into having sex with him. Kaiman then posted an apology on his Twitter account.

In a statement posted to the FCCC’s Twitter account Thursday night, Kaiman wrote that he decided to resign following the allegation.

“The allegation was not professional or club-related in nature, but I feel it risks casting a shadow over the club, and I will not be able to effectively run it as a result.”

The club announced that Vice-President John Sudworth will assume the position of club president.

Kaiman is also the Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times.

On Thursday, law student Laura Tucker wrote that she felt pressured into having sex with Kaiman after they went to her apartment after a night out. Though she changed her mind and voiced her lack of consent several times, Kaiman allegedly refused to leave, and – in the end – she said the “easiest, least confrontational way forward was to place male satisfaction above my own desires and to go back to the bed… We had sex, and I felt gross for all of it.”

Afterwards, Kaiman apologised on Twitter, saying: “@laura_tucker, I am so, so deeply sorry — I did not in any way mean to pressure you into an unwanted or uncomfortable sexual encounter, and I thought we had talked through the issue as peers and friends.”

Jonathan Kaiman. Photo: Twitter.

Before Kaiman’s resignation, Stephen McDonell, the BBC’s China Correspondent, said on Twitter that the matter should not be discussed publicly and “[w]hat’s said to have taken place has nothing to do with rape, nowhere near it.”

“Why on earth must @JRKaiman comment publicly about this? It’s none of anyone’s business. To tell the truth I think this issue is spinning out of control into areas which have nothing to do with where it started and belittle genuine grievances, assault etc,” he wrote.

In response, Emily Rauhala, China correspondent for the Washington Post, responded: “Stephen, we all pay FCCC dues.. This is absolutely a matter for the FCCC. It’s about the FCCC’s standing to raise human rights issues with the Chinese government.”

The LA Times has not responded to HKFP’s request for comment.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.