Kerry calls for an im­me­di­ate re­lease of Chi­nese fem­i­nists

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry urged Bei­jing on Fri­day to im­me­di­ately re­lease five fem­i­nists who were de­tained ahead of In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day.

The ar­rests last month ap­peared to be an ef­fort by China to head off public protest linked to the March 8 hol­i­day.

Li Tingt­ing, a young ac­tivist known for stag­ing demon­stra­tions in men’s lava­to­ries to call for an in­crease in the num­ber of public toi­lets for women, was taken from her home in Bei­jing on March 7, ac­cord­ing to her lawyer Yan Xin.

“Each and ev­ery one of us has the right to speak out against sex­ual ha­rass­ment and the many other in­jus­tices that mil­lions of women and girls suf­fer around the world each and ev­ery day,” Kerry said in a state­ment.

“We strongly sup­port the ef­forts of th­ese ac­tivists to make progress on th­ese chal­leng­ing is­sues, and we be­lieve that Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties should also sup­port them, not si­lence them.”

Li, who goes by the pseu­do­nym Li Maizi, or­ga­nized protests in Bei­jing and the south­ern me­trop­o­lis of Guangzhou three years ago in which she and other women “oc­cu­pied” men’s toi­lets. She fre­quently spoke out for gen­der equal­ity.

An­other Chi­nese ac­tivist had said that Li was plan­ning to hold a demon­stra­tion to protest sex­ual ha­rass­ment of women aboard public trans­porta­tion be­fore she was ar­rested.

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