Sensitive Words: Women’s Rights Activists Detained

Sensitive Words: Women’s Rights Activists Detained

Sensitive Words highlights keywords that are blocked from Sina Weibo search results. CDT independently tests the keywords before posting them, but some searches later become accessible again. We welcome readers to contribute to this project so that we can include the most up-to-date information. Use the form at the bottom of this post to help us crowd source sensitive words. You can also browse our archive of sensitive words.

Weibo is constricting discussion of the five women’s rights activists detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” They had planned to put stickers on public transportation in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou to raise awareness about sexual harassment on International Women’s Day. They were detained before they could act, and so “never actually committed a crime, even under Chinese law,” writes Elizabeth Lynch at the China Law & Policy blog.

While the five activists’ names themselves remain searchable on Weibo, the added search term taken away (被带走) makes four of their names unsearchable: Zheng Churan (郑楚然), Wei Tingting (韦婷婷), Wang Man (王曼), and Li Maizi (李麦子) (the penname of Li Tingting, who helped plan the Occupy Men’s Toilets campaign in 2012). The combined search take away + women’s rights (带走+女权) is also blocked.

Wu Rongrong + taken away (武嵘嵘+被带走) is the only combination with any of the activists’ names that remains searchable as of the publication of this post. The keywords return 80 results, including a comment (translated below) from a thread started by @NGOCN on March 7, and 79 responses to that comment:

Zhiyeweiguansuosuozhang (@职业围观所所长): <(ll°д°ll)>! So it wasn’t just in Guangzhou. Even Wu Rongrong was taken away?!//Xuenuonuo (@血诺诺)://@帅气逼人渣渣子biu: Hehe.//Jiexishibai (@解析失敗): Maybe a lot of people don’t understand the official definition of “woman,” so it’s hard to have a “women’s day.” //Leixiaojiang (@淚笑匠): Fight on.//Dongfangzanzhu (@东方赞助)://Pigediqiaositaxiansheng (@皮格蹄乔斯塔先生): //Shui-yeyushengbufan (@水-夜雨聲不煩):……//Baihuboli_ (@白虎琉璃_): China is this afraid to let women have their own voices heard.

<(ll°д°ll)>!原来不止是广州的,连武嵘嵘被带走了?!//@血诺诺://@帅气逼人渣渣子biu:呵呵//@解析失敗:可能很多人不明白“妇女”的官方定义吧,硬弄个“女生节”出来//@淚笑匠:加油。//@东方赞助://@皮格蹄乔斯塔先生: //@水-夜雨聲不煩:……//@白虎琉璃_:中国如此害怕让女性发出自己的声音。

@NGOCN: At first it was action to “prevent sexual harassment,” but now the action itself has been harassed; at first it was a day for women’s rights and interests, but the words “rights and interests” can’t even be brought up.” (March 7, 2015)

本是一场“制止性骚扰”的活动,如今活动本身却被骚扰;本是一个妇女权益的节日,但权益二字却不能提及。 [Chinese]

In her last Weibo post, on March 5, Wei Tingting asked, “Is it really a good idea to lose myself in dangerous and unknown territory?” (把自己丢到危险未知之地,到底好不好). Friends have commented with well-wishes, hopes that she will soon be released from custody, and cake emoji for her birthday on March 13, spent in detention.

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