In a perfect world, calories would be redundant, marriages would last forever, world hunger would be eliminated, and standing up for what you believe in; would be encouraged. But unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and therefore must accept the consequences which follow that particular reality. That exact, unacceptable reality is entirely what Chinese protesters, Li Tingting, Wu Rongrong, Zheng Churen, Wei Tingting, and Wang Man; were faced with. On March 6th, the five women, who are famous for their legendary protests in China, were arrested for planning a protest against sexual harassment, which would have taken place two days later on International Women’s Day.
The female activists, who were facing up to five years in jail, were released earlier on Monday, after multiple calls were made by U.S Vice President, Joe Biden, and Secretary of State, John Kerry, urging Chinese officials to release the women. During a tweet, which was sent out on Saturday, Biden wrote
“We urge Chinese leaders to show respect for women’s rights,” adding, “Rights of women and girls should never be suppressed.”
This was followed by a response from Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, during a news briefing, saying
“We urge the United States to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and not use any pretext to interfere in China’s internal affairs”
It would appear that the good ole U.S wasn’t the only supporter of the female activists. Britain and the European Union have also shown interest in the ongoing story, as did Democratic presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton. Unlike the U.S, China holds a communist government, and therefore has stricter rules and consequences when it comes to free speech. While individuals in the U.S are allowed to fight for causes such as gender equality, reproductive freedom, sexual violence, and equal pay, individuals elsewhere do not share that same political freedom.
It is a worldwide ongoing battle, which does not seem to be diminishing anytime soon. One Chinese activist commented on the subject, saying
“We believed that young women had some space to express their views. But now, it seems that that space has disappeared completely,”
As I commented before, we do not live in a perfect world. It is tarnished and overlapping with an immense amount of hatred. But I have faith that one day such a world will no longer exist. We’ll wake up to find that the tape restricting our views has been lifted, and the will to speak our minds is encouraged daily. A girl can dream, right?