Badiucao honors the five female activists—Wu Rongrong, Li Tingting (aka Li Maizi), Zheng Churan (aka Da Tu), Wei Tingting, and Wang Man—who are currently under criminal detention on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The five were detained, along with other activists who were subsequently released, on the eve of International Women’s Day on March 8, while planning a public awareness campaign against sexual harassment. Two of the women, Wu Rongrong and Wang Man, are reportedly suffering from serious health conditions while in detention.
Supporters of the activists, including the NGO Yirenping Center, have been targeted for their efforts to speak out on their behalf. Nevertheless, Internet users around the world have used the hashtag #FreeTheFive to express support for the detained activists; a Tumblr page gathers messages of support as well. On Saturday, the New York Times editorial board expressed their condemnation of the detentions and of Xi Jinping’s ongoing crackdown on civil society and activism:
President Xi should see that there is no place for such government thuggery in his campaign to modernize China. He has the chance to build a legacy embracing the advancement of human rights. Instead, he appears to be succumbing to the history of Communist Party leaders who fear citizens’ protests as a prelude to subversion. The Yirenping women stand as a noble opportunity for China, not a threat. [Source]
Read also a CDT Q&A with Badiucao in which he discusses his artistic and personal influences. All Badiucao cartoons for CDT are available here. See also exclusive CDT t-shirts with a Badiucao design, for sale on our Zazzle store.