For years, activists have struggled to spotlight the rustic’s informal attitudes about violence towards girls handiest to learn that gender has little to do with it. Grass-roots advocacy for ladies’s rights, together with the #MeToo movement, have struggled in China, the place it has clashed with Beijing’s intolerance for activism and has been accused of being a Western import. But because the incidents and the outrage mount, it’s changing into increasingly more tough to suppress the controversy.
More girls are refusing to be gaslighted concerning the incidence of sexism in Chinese society. “From the woman in Fengxian to the violent beating in Tangshan, the ‘she’ in those situations are all vulnerable. Maybe next time it will be you, or me, or all of us,” wrote a blogger under the pen name Zhao Qiaoqiao in one popular commentary about the incident.
“When one case turns into an incident and when one incident turns into a phenomenon, only then will society pay attention and try to solve this problem,” Zhao wrote.
In an article that was later censored, another blogger asked, “Why is it that with the Tangshan incident they became not just gender blind but are doing everything possible to erase the gender dimension of this incident?”
Video footage of the attack in the early hours of June 10 in Tangshan showed a man approach a table of women and place his hand on one of their backs. The woman can be seen pushing him away. After a second time, he slaps her. When her friends try to intervene, other men rush to the table beating them and dragging one outside where she is kicked repeatedly on the ground as the other diners look on.
Authorities in Tangshan launched a public security campaign and pledged to crack down on crime, with police stationed throughout the city and at restaurants. A prominent sociologist wrote in an essay that this was an “ordinary incident” of threats to public order, arguing that it “stemmed from sexual harassment but does not reflect gender discrimination in society.”
Articles about the incident and gender-based violence were deleted, including one article calling on the government and state media to stop talking about feminism. Weibo, the microblogging website, banned 265 accounts for “instigating gender conflict” in discussing the Tangshan violence.
The response is in line with other campaigns to limit the fallout of such episodes. Support online for a landmark #MeToo lawsuit in which a former intern accused a prominent TV host for sexual assault last year has been heavily censored. An activist who tried to visit the woman found chained outside in Jiangsu in eastern China was detained by the police in March.
Last year, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who alleged on social media that a senior official had pressured her into sex, disappeared from public view for months before retracting her comments in carefully managed interviews,
In April, the official Weibo of Communist Youth League of China published a post saying that “extreme feminism has become a malignant tumor on the internet.”
Wang Yu, a Beijing-based rights lawyer said such framing is consistent with official messaging about women’s rights in China.
“The government is concerned about people talking about gender because any discussion about human rights is considered sensitive by the officials, and that includes women’s rights,” she said.
Still, observers say the movement has made some gains. Outrage over the case of the chained mother ignited internet users, spurring forms of online and offline activism rarely seen as the space for Chinese civil society has shrunk.
A recent case of online #MeToo activism, taking inspiration from a Taiwanese writer, also undercut criticisms that Chinese feminists have been brainwashed by Western ideology.
In May, a woman alleged in a post on Weibo that an associate professor at the Nankai University in Tianjin had used his position to trick her into a sexual relationship with him when she was a student. She cited Taiwanese author Lin Yi-han’s 2017 novel about a young girl being seduced by her cram school tutor, based on Lin’s own life story. Lin killed herself shortly after the book’s release.
“This matter has been torturing me for six years with several attempts to commit suicide,” she wrote. “If I die, I hope the world will know my story,” learn the put up, which might no longer be independently verified via The Washington Post. The put up attracted 1.4 million likes as web customers referred to as for- combating every other tragedy like that of Lin Yihan.
In the wake of the post, two other professors in Tianjin were accused of having affairs with students and within a week, the school fired the accused professor for “having beside the point relationships with girls” and issued disciplinary measures against the other two, according to a statement from the university.
Lu Pin, the founding editor of Feminist Voices, a Chinese feminist platform banned in 2018, said Lin’s book had become a symbol of women’s rights in China. The novel is currently the eighth on the list of top 250 book list as ranked by Douban, a popular book review site. On a fan page for Lin with more than 22 million views, rape victims leave messages about their experiences.
,[Lin] speaks for plenty of Chinese girls in a tradition that attaches nice significance to disgrace,” Lu mentioned.
The assault within the past due evening fish fry eating place has in a similar fashion struck a chord about girls’s vulnerability. Despite the Tangshan government’ efforts to minimize the assault, the general public continues to name for solutions. On Monday, a trending matter on Weibo calling for an replace at the sufferers, won greater than 1 billion perspectives.
“The more you cover up the facts from the people, the more dissatisfied the public will be. Then more speculation will follow, bringing more negative effects,” read a widely circulated editorial from National Business Daily.
Following the public outrage, Hebei’s Public Security Department issued a statement Tuesday saying the two hospitalized victims’ conditions had improved and that all nine suspects were arrested. Authorities also said that the deputy chief of the Tangshan police had been removed and five other police officials were being investigated over their handling of the attack.
Censorship has been swift, however, against any perceived activism over the incident. One woman from Shanghai had her account banned on Weibo after posting a photo of herself holding a sign that called for information of the attacked women’s situation. A hashtag“I’m speaking out for the Tangshan girls,” additionally perceived to were censored.
Still, women’s rights advocates believe the feminist movements in China will persevere.
“The existence of the feminist movement is based on the needs in people’s hearts,” said Lu. “People are always waiting for the next opportunity to speak out for themselves. There is no way to eliminate this movement.”
Lyric Li in Seoul contributed to this record.
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