Early last month, China arrested several core members of the country’s new feminist movement who were planning a public awareness campaign around sexual harassment on public transportation. These young feminists are known for their “guerilla-style” theatrical protests: shaving their heads to protest education inequality; storming men’s restrooms as a reaction to decry public toilet inequity; and cruising a tourist district with fake “blood-stained” wedding gowns to call attention to domestic violence. Five of the protesters are still in custody charged with “provoking social instability.” One of them is reported to be ailing after police withheld her hepatitis medication and another one suffered a minor heart attack, and their lawyers say they have been subjected to near-constant interrogations. Many feminist activists have gone into hiding across the country, afraid of the government’s backlash. While Chinese authorities are trying to keep their crackdown hidden from the media, domestic and international support for these activists is growing, with several Western governments demanding their release and social media campaigns, such as online petitions and the #freethefive hashtag, gaining traction.
Read the full story at The New York Times.