A common cause for gender equality

In solidarity

On March 6, the Chinese authoritaries detained five feminist activists because they planned to campaign against sexual harassment on buses ahead of the International Women’s Day on March 8.

“We express our solidarity with those feminists who stood up for the respect of women and their sexual identity,” says Apoorva, a student of the Gender Studies Group, Delhi University, which staged a protest at Jantar Mantar last week. 

Highlighting the detention of people outside Hindu Mahasabha premises on Valentine’s Day, he says, “State is always scared when it comes to gender equality, so is the case in China. These five young feminist activists, Tingting Li, Man Wang, Tingting Wei, Rongrong Wu, and Churan Zheng devoted themselves to the mission of raising gender awareness among the general public to promote gender equality. They are leading a new wave of the feminist movement in China.” Notably, these activists are lesbians and bisexuals.

Apoorva believes the situation related to the ‘sexual identity issue’ is similar in India and China. “Since coming to power in 2012, President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping has overseen a sweeping anti-corruption campaign, as well as a crackdown on civil society groups ranging from human rights lawyers to NGOs building libraries in rural China. Feminists and LGBT activists say their events are frequently monitored or shut down by local police. Such is the situation in India too,” he rues.

Twenty years ago, China hosted the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, signed the Beijing Platform for Action and made a commitment to promote women’s rights and gender equality. “What the Chinese government has done to the five young feminists is unacceptable and violates the spirit of the Beijing Platform for Action,” says Ashley Tellis, gay rights activist.

“On the one hand, there is legislative endorsement of activists’ work on various issues from corruption to domestic violence and on the other no shelter from capricious crackdowns on ‘unauthorised’ public demonstrations, practices in which, like many other things. China is much like India,” he adds.

Standing in solidarity with these five women whose whereabouts are not known, the group raised slogans demanding theirimmediate release.

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