Five women's rights activists released on bail in China
Meet, from left to right, members of China’s Women’s Rights Action Group Wu Rongrong, Wei Tingting, Li Tingting, Wang Man and Zheng Churan © Private.
These five Chinese activists decided to mark International Women’s Day in 2015 by launching a campaign against sexual harassment. They had made stickers to distribute, printed with slogans like “Go police, go arrest those who committed sexual harassment!” This was not their first event organized to raise public awareness on gender equality issues. They had staged “Occupy the Men’s Toilets” to challenge the lack of public facilities for women, and had attended demonstrations in wedding dresses spattered with red ink to protest domestic violence.
Just before International Women’s Day, March 8th, authorities arrested them on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Aside from the questionable reasons for taking them into custody, Amnesty International was very concerned about their safety from torture since they were in secret locations.
Amnesty International swung into action, mobilizing the international Urgent Action Network and women’s rights activists. The organization was joined by many other individuals and groups around the world. The national and international outcry secured the release of the five on April 13, although the charges against have yet to be removed.
“The decision to release all five women is an encouraging breakthrough. The authorities must now follow through and drop all charges and restrictions against the women.”
- William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International