Gender Rights Activist Harassed Upon Release

Ye Haiyan, a gender rights activist, was released from police detention but continued to face harassment. From Mimi Lau at the South China Morning Post:

She was accused of assaulting three women who stormed into her apartment with a handful of people after she returned from a protest in Wanning, Hainan , against a spate of sexual assaults targeting primary school pupils.

[…] Local authorities issued a detention order on May 31, ordering Ye to be put under 13 days of administrative detention. The women who stormed into her flat were set free. “I think the whole attack and detention was a plot to intimidate me for my activism against sexual abuse targeting young girls,” Ye said.

[…] Ye’s relatives also made multiple calls warning her to leave Bobai county before sunset to avoid trouble. Her landlord also told her to leave the two-bedroom apartment she has been renting for 350 yuan (HK$440) a month for the past two years. “The Bobai authorities couldn’t stand up to the pressure so they tried to get rid of me,” she said. “The police here want to turn this into a conflict between me and the local people. They are totally oblivious to what’s going on out there in the public arena. [Source]

Before her detention, Ye had participated in a protest at a school in Hainan where the headmaster was accused of raping girl students. From the Guardian:

Ye, a well known campaigner, was one of several people who protested outside government offices in Wanning, Hainan province, over the case of a headmaster and official accused of raping schoolgirls.

A photograph showing her holding up a sign reading: “Principal, call me if you want to get a room. Leave the pupils alone,” inspired hundreds of others, who posted images of themselves with the same message online.

But on Thursday, shortly after she returned home to Bobai county, Guangxi, she posted an online plea for help, saying people had stormed into her home and attacked her and were still waiting outside her home. She then lost contact with friends. [Source]

In the New York Times, Didi Kirsten Tatlow reports on the Weibo messages Ye sent out as she was beaten and then detained on May 30:

“Now there are four or five women in my home, beating me,” wrote 37-year-old Ms. Ye on Sina Weibo, the discussion platform that is often likened to China’s “town square.” She had just returned from nearby Hainan Island where she had taken part in a mocking protest outside a school whose principal had allegedly raped several girls, one of many cases of child sex abuse that have come to light in China recently, attracting widespread attention and disgust.

A minute later, at 11:42, Ms. Ye pleaded: “Please everyone call the police, there’s only me and my daughter at home.”

At 11:58: “11 people in total. One is a man. About 10 women.”

And the last message at 11:59, before she disappeared into 13-day-long police detention: “They’re still blocking the stairs at my building. Please everyone report it to the police. Though it’s no use. But I still want a record, to solve it through legal means.” [Source]

During Ye’s detention, her case generated support among activists and netizens in China. Documentary filmmaker Ai Xiaoming posted a photo of herself topless with “Check into a hotel with me and let Ye Haiyan go” written across her chest, as did many others.

Read more about Ye Haiyan’s previous activism for sex workers, via CDT.