China Denies Feminists Their Freedom, Rejects International Pleas
One of the detained activist
NEW DELHI: Stonewalling efforts by United Kingdom and United States , China has refused to release the feminist protesters it had detained before International Women’s Day.
The women activists have been in confinement for the last three weeks with no proper medical care provided to them by the authorities. They had been arrested just before they could mount their protest aimed against sexual harassment, on the suspicion of “picking quarrels and creating a disturbance”.
According to a report in Guardian, Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry retorted to the voices supporting the detainees by saying, “No one has the right to ask China to release relevant persons, so we hope that relevant people will stop interfering in China’s judicial sovereignty in such a manner.”
The group known as ‘Beijing +20, is known for employing imaginative ways for holding protests and to grab attention. One such protest was “Occupy Men’s Toilets “ aimed to challenge lack of female facilities. They used slogans like ‘If you love her, do not let her wait in line’ to get their point across.
UK Foreign Office has shown deep concern over the Chinese apathy towards the women’s rights to peaceful demonstration.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said , “We remain deeply concerned by the ongoing detention of Wu Rongrong, Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan and Li Tingting in cities across China. The five women were arrested prior to International Women’s Day for peacefully demonstrating against sexua harassment. We are particularly concerned by reports that they have been denied due legal process, and at least one, Wu Rongrong, denied access to adequate medical care while in detention.”
The representative further urged China to “release all those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression….”.
US Permanent Representative to UN, Samantha Power, called the detention as one made on a phony pretext of prevention of “disturbances”, which was actually an attempt to stifle any redressal of social problems.
In a press release, issued on 20th March, she said, If China is committed to advancing the rights of women, then it should be working to address the issues raised by these women’s rights activists—not silencing them. The United States calls upon China to release immediately the Beijing+20 Five and partner with them to help ensure that men and women everywhere are able to live free from harassment and violence”
It further read, “The continued detention of the Beijing+20 Five reminds us that women’s rights cannot advance when other basic human rights are denied. Moreover, men and women alike will suffer when the worthy desire of individuals to address pressing social problems is stifled under the false banner of ‘creating a disturbance.’”
According to the report in The Guardian, Wu Rongrong, one of the detainees has hepatitis B, and had spent a month in hospital before her arrest. She was denied any medical care for weeks before she was transferred to a medical facility in the detention center.