In the final part of her interview, Lü Pin discusses the Feminist Five case, how the #MeToo movement caught on in China at a time when the feminist movement seemed to be fading, and the eventual shutdown of Feminist Voice. According to Lü Pin, while the feminist movement is facing an uncertain future, the repressive regime is far from claiming victory.
After leaving China Women News, Lü Pin began to work with women intellectuals pioneering women’s rights advocacy in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2009, Lü Pin founded ‘Feminist Voice.’ Its sharp interpretation of women issues through a feminist lens attracted many young educated women. A small NGO called ‘One-yuan Commune’ was established in Beijing that quickly became a springboard for street activism from 2012 to 2015.
Since the 1990s, Lü Pin has been a pioneering advocate for women’s rights in China as well as a prolific writer on gender issues and a mentor to a group of activists known as the “young feminist activists.” In part one of our 3-part interview of her, Lü Pin traces her upbringing, the 1989 movement, her journalism career at China Women’s News, and her recollections of the 1995 World Conference on Women.
Xiao Meili, March 27, 2018 January 2018 was a special month for the Chinese feminist movement. On January 1, Luo Xixi (罗茜茜) released an open letter –– using her real name –– in which she accused her former PhD advisor, Chen Xiaowu (陈小武), of sexually harassing female students. It was as if she had lit a spark that ignited a powerful and dynamic wave of anti-sexual harassment on Chinese social media, and its impact far exceeded the expectations of many, including Luo herself. Students from nearly 80 universities sent joint letters to their university presidents, urging their alma maters to establish a sexual harassment prevention mechanism. More than 9,000 people took part. It’s said that this is the largest student movement in China […]
Yaxue Cao, July 26, 2016 Li Tingting (李婷婷), also known as Li Maizi (李麦子), is one of the “Feminist Five” in China who were detained on the eve of the International Women’s Day in 2015; they were planning a protest against sexual harassment on public transportation, which is insidiously prevalent in China. The women were released after 37 days in detention following an unprecedented international outcry. I met with Li Tingting recently over a Sunday brunch, and we spoke about her detention, women’s rights, LGBT advocacy, and civil society. — The Editors YC: Let’s begin from your experiences during the arrest of the Feminist Five on March 6. Li Tingting: At that time my girlfriend and I were living in a rental. The police came […]
By China Change, published: March 6, 2016 Just before International Women’s Day on March 8, the Feminist Five activists in China, as well as their defense counsel, have been spoken to and put under pressure by police, according to friends and lawyers of the activists, communicating via social media. On March 3, Internal Security police, the branch of the Public Security Bureau focused on internal political threats, sought out the defense lawyers of the feminist activists. They said that they knew that five lawyers had sent a legal opinion to the authorities recommending that the case against the the Feminist Five be withdrawn. Security police asked them which lawyer was in charge of that letter, what their motive was, and to which governmental departments […]
By defense counsels of the Feminist Five, published: March 3, 2016 To: Haidian Precinct, Beijing Public Security Bureau CC: Supreme People’s Procuratorate National People’s Congress Internal & Judicial Affairs Committee Beijing Field Office of UN Women Last year, on the eve of the March 8 International Women’s Day, the five Chinese feminist activists Wei Tingting (韦婷婷), Zheng Churan (郑楚然), Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘), Li Tingting (李婷婷), and Wang Man (王曼) were placed under criminal detention by police in Beijing’s Haidian District on suspicion of “provoking a serious disturbance” and “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Later, they were released on bail pending additional investigation. These women came to be known as the “Feminist […]
By Yaxue Cao, published: February 14, 2016 She is a renowned public interest lawyer, a pioneer of China’s NGO movement, a defender of women’s rights, a writer, a legislative advocate, a recipient of some of the world’s top awards for women, and her work has been recognized and supported by the likes of the United Nations. What could go wrong? Everything. On January 29 a message on WeChat read that Zhongze had been ordered to close before the Spring Festival by the “relevant authorities.” Not long after this, the head of the Center, Guo Jianmei (郭建梅) sent out a WeChat message: “Announcement: Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counseling Service Center (众泽妇女法律咨询服务中心) will close from February 1, 2016. Thank you to everyone for your attention and […]
Published: May 6, 2015 Below are excerpts of the letters they posted following their release on April 13, 2015. Wei Tingting (韦婷婷), April 17, 2015 Since the first day home, I have been constantly trying to make up for what I missed during the detention, reading your articles, tracking your chats, browsing through various reports from various venues, and then allowing tears to flow. I am moved and excited each day by your spirit, bravery and love, so much so that I can hardly sleep at the night. Having too much to say and too much to write about, I do not know how to start, overwhelmed by waves of feelings. On the way back, I got to know the various voices of […]
By Wu Rongrong, published: April 27, 2015 Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘), though released along with the four other feminist activists on April 13, was subjected to grueling, humiliating interrogations on April 23rd and 24th. Don’t let the CCP machine destroy the very best of China. – The Editor Fate and chance made me a social worker and a feminist: gentle and timid in appearance, but a staunch defender of women’s rights. After four years of college social work studies and volunteer experience, I set off on a path of social advocacy At college, I majored in social work. I fell in love with the ideas, values and curriculum of that major, its concern for society’s most vulnerable groups and its quest for fairness and […]
By Wang Zheng, published: April 13, 2015 It is to my great relief that the authorities have decided to release the five feminists on bail. However, we insist that the police drop all charges against the five rather than treating them as “suspects”, restricting their physical mobility and job opportunity, and deprive them of their freedom and rights as citizens. Our fight for their total freedom continues. In the Chinese context, this is the first time that a group of detained social activists are released all at once. This decision suggests: one, the unprecedented huge mobilization of global feminist and other non-governmental organizations’ support is effective. The massive grassroots based petitions not only pushed their own respective state politicians to respond, it also demonstrated […]
Published: April 11, 2015 “You must know the global picture of women to understand the international response to the detention of the five feminists in China.” Professor Wang Zheng (王政), of the University of Michigan, is a scholar whose research focuses on the modern and contemporary history of Chinese women and gender, and Chinese feminism in the era of globalization. Since 1993, Professor Wang has been working with Chinese domestic feminist scholars to promote feminist scholarship and establish courses in women studies and gender studies. She has also participated in the feminist movement itself in China over the years. On April 3rd, Professor Wang gave a speech at Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, about the recent arrest of the five Chinese feminists (starts around 48:00). […]
By Yan Wenxin, published: March 25, 2015 Lawyer Yan Wenxin (燕文薪)’s post on Weibo: After trying unsuccessfully for four consecutive work days, I finally met with Li Tingting (aka Maizi) today, March 25th, 2015. Maizi said that she had been anticipating meeting with me the last few days, and she had told the preliminary interrogators (预审员), following this morning’s interrogation, that she was expecting her lawyer and that they’d better not come to summon her again before 3:30 pm today. “If you come before that time,” she told them, “I will not go with you even if you are to carry me off.” Maizi told me that, during the days between my first meeting [on March 12] and this meeting, she was interrogated […]
By Chang Ping, published: November 15, 2014 Editor’s update on Ye Haiyan: Ye Haiyan was released at midnight on November 12. She has since been placed under house arrest, guarded by local policemen, the Communist Party’s local Politics and Law Committee, and neighborhood workers. Her boyfriend, while with her currently, has received threats from the Chinese authorities that he either leaves her or faces detention himself. On October 23 at UN headquarters in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reviewed the Chinese government’s periodical report. Chinese officials promised on the spot that Chinese NGOs would not face retaliation for taking part in this meeting. I was there at the meeting. To me, the promise first sounded ridiculous because, why […]
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