Chinese feminists are targets of online hate. Internet trolls constantly attack them, and when they reach out for help, big tech companies don’t lift a finger. Rather, they delete their accounts. In effect, big tech companies are punishing the victim and not the perpetrator - seems backwards and idiotic to me. Yet, this issue illuminates China’s suppression of rights.
On Weibo, a popular blogging website in China, users have been inquiring about how Weibo can provide better guidelines for how to file complaints, specifically on feminist content.
Oh but don’t worry, dear reader! They come from a virtuous moral standpoint: “They are sick of seeing women stand up for themselves.” (Give me a break!)
In China’s patriarchal society, feminism is despised. Brainwashed by the authoritative
government, citizens are fed the “knowledge” that feminists are separatists from the Chinese Republic, and thus, should be eradicated.
In fact, Weibo has terminated several “prominent Chinese feminists,” according to the New York Times, “following public complaints.”
Xiao Meili, a leading feminist in China, recorded and uploaded a video on Weibo of a man throwing a cup of hot liquid at her and her friends after they asked the man to stop smoking (illegally) indoors.
When she posted the video that night, she awoke to thousands of hateful messages flooding her comments. Soon after, one user resurfaced an image of Ms. Xiao standing next to a photo depicting the phrase: “Pray for Hong Kong.” (If you are Chinese, you do not dare support Hong Kong’s fight for democracy.) So, according to those that pull the strings in China, Ms. Xiao’s account had to be deleted. What did she expect? She spoke freely, she stood up for herself and supported Hong Kong. That’s the unfortunate reality.
But Weibo isn’t the only censorship culprit. Douban, an internet forum, has removed around
eight groups dedicated to women’s issues. They declined to provide any comments.
After getting hot liquid thrown at her, Taobao, an e-commerce site in China, removed 23 items from Ms. Xiao’s online store and claimed they were “prohibited content”. What was unsaid however was that all those items had the word feminist written on them. Frustrated, Ms. Xiao sued Taobao. But after posting her lawsuit on WeChat, one of China’s largest social media apps, her account was removed for “violating regulations.”
This censorship is not even the least bit discreet. But then again, why should it be? The government, the companies, and the majority of the people paint feminists as separatists, so who is going to stop them?