Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015: Chinese feminist Feng Yuan on the Feminist Five

We speak with Chinese feminist Feng Yuan about the arrest and release of the Feminist Five – five young feminists held for over a month for planning International Women’s Day actions around the country.They are Li Tingting, age 25; Zheng Churan, age 25; Wei Tingting, age 26; Wu Rongrong, age 30; and Wang Man, age 33.The activists had begun their advocacy work on Valentine’s Day in 2012, when Li and Wei walked along a busy Beijing commercial area in wedding gowns stained with fake blood to attract attention. They chanted slogans like “Hitting is not intimacy; verbal abuse is not love.” They also distributed anti-domestic ­violence pamphlets and cards to passers­by. Many of the bystanders were sympathetic to their message and complimented them on their bravery.

Listen now or Get MP3. 9:02 min

Soon after the “wounded brides” stunt, young feminist activists organized another attention-grabbing event, called “occupy the men’s room.” The Occupy Wall Street movement had inspired Li to design an activist project in Guangzhou together with Wang, Zheng, and others. They encouraged women waiting in long lines outside restrooms to “occupy” the less-used men’s rooms for 10 minutes, then return the stalls to men after the number of women waiting had been reduced. They called for an increase in the size of women’s public restrooms that would equalize wait times for men and women.

The monthlong ordeal of the Feminist Five began around 11 p.m. on March 6, when police in Beijing and the southern city of Guangzhou knocked on the respective doors of Zheng and Li, almost at the exact same moment. In Guangzhou, they held Zheng in a hotel room. In Beijing, police searched Li’s apartment. According to Li’s live-in girlfriend Xiaola (who asked to use a pseudonym), the police felt they had a “gotcha” moment when they found stickers that Li had prepared to use at an anti-sexual harassment rally on March 7, just ahead of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8 of every year. They subsequently took Li and Xiaola to the police station for interrogation.

The “March 7 Stick-In” was a project Zheng and Li had worked on together; they had planned to distribute the stickers on buses to combat sexual harassment. They had recruited volunteers from different cities through social media platforms.

The Five Feminist were released on bail on April 13 and are still under watch by various authorities.

Click here to listen to the entire show. 59:50 min.

Also on today's show:
COMPAÑERAS: Zapatista Women
SF International Film Festival

1 comment:

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