China: “Feminism is not a crime!”

Release the five women activists in China!

Statement by Defend Chinese Feminists Campaign

Five young women known for their “guerrilla art” style of raising awareness on women’s rights were arrested on the eve of International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2015.

Their names are: Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘) age 30, Zheng Churan (郑楚然) aka Da Tu (大兔) 26, Li Tingting (李婷婷) aka Li Maizi (李麦子) 26, Wang Man (王曼) 32, and Wei Tingting (韦婷婷) 26.

They are the latest victims of Xi Jinping’s sweeping crackdown on labour activists, rights lawyers and anti-corruption whistle-blowers. Over 1,000 regime critics were detained in China last year in the worst repression since the early 1990s. Xi has shown he will not tolerate even ‘moderate’ critics who do not challenge one-party rule. There are fears the five feminists will be charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a vague offence that can mean up to five years in prison.


The arrest of the five Chinese activists is an attack on the rights of all women around the world. In China and worldwide women face discrimination, low pay and fewer educational opportunities.

• 70% of the world’s poor are women.

• Women in China earn on average 67% of men’s earnings, down from 78% in 1990. In Hong Kong average women’s wages are only 78% of men’s.

• More than one-third of the world’s women have suffered sexual or domestic violence according to the WHO. In Hong Kong sexual violence cases have increased 1.8 times in recent years.

The Chinese regime seems to want to outlaw feminist struggle, adding this to the long list of forbidden political activities in China. We cannot rely on the world’s governments and political leaders to pressure the Chinese dictatorship as they always put their business interests first. The pressure must come from a grassroots international solidarity campaign that speaks up for freedom of speech and women’s rights. This is part of a worldwide struggle against today’s patriarchal and exploitive system that subjects women to sexual violence and discrimination.

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