Chinese #MeToo Activist Stands Trial After Two Years of Detention
Women’s Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
Sophia Huang Xueqin, a prominent #MeToo activist in China, was detained in 2021 alongside her co-accused labour campaigner Wang Jianbing as a result of China’s crackdown on activists, sparking serious concerns about the rights of activists in China. During her two year detainment without trial, Huang was severely malnourished and sleep deprived according to family members who visited her, as she was held in a secret black jail. On Friday 29th September 2023, Huang appeared in court in Guangzhou amidst heavy police presence (Cai, 2023).
Previously, Huang worked as a freelance journalist and led the first #MeToo case in China in 2018 as she helped a graduate student’s sexual harassment accusations against her PhD supervisor (Cai, 2023). Additionally, she surveyed hundreds of female journalists about their experiences with sexual harassment, which was then published in 2018 (Frontline Defenders, n.d.). In order to avoid detainment by the Chinese security forces, many activists and advocates for social causes in China remain anonymous to protect their identity and lives. The #MeToo movement in China was ultimately shut down by Chinese authorities due to its potential threat to Chinese social stability and the Chinese Communist Party’s power and control (Moritsugu, 2023). Huang’s case, like many others, demonstrate the dangers of advocating for human rights, including women’s rights, in China, as well as the Chinese Community Party’s relentless crusade against any forms of criticism and dissent.
Sources and further readings:
Cai, D. (2023, 22 September) China MeToo activist stands trial for subversion, BBC. Retrieved on 3 October 2023 from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-66877390.amp
Frontline Defenders (n.d.) Huang Xueqin, frontlinedefenders.org. Retrieved on 3 October 2023 from: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/huang-xueqin
Moritsugu, K. (2023, 19 September) A Chinese #MeToo journalist and an activist spent 2 years in detention. Their trial starts this week, Associated Press. Retrieved on 3 October 2023 from: https://apnews.com/article/china-metoo-huang-xueqin-activist-e200cf1b7374f619ce5df2c58ca98426