Translation: International Women’s Day Posters and Artwork (1)

This year’s March 8 United Nations International Women’s Day theme was “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” Over time, the holiday for women—which has been celebrated in China as a half-day holiday since 1950—has been commodified by advertisers as a day to hit the shops. In previous years, Chinese women have used the day to protest the closure of feminist groups and social media accounts, or pushed back against the holiday being minimized as “Girls’ Day” or commodified into “fests” such as “Goddess Day” or “Queens’ Day.” 

This year, two high-profile cases of trafficking and spousal abuse in Jiangsu and Shaanxi have galvanized Chinese women to draw attention to the ongoing problem of the abduction and trafficking of women and girls. Although social media censorship of 2022 Women’s Day posts has been particularly intense, with images and articles sometimes disappearing within minutes of being posted, there has been an outpouring of posters and artwork, personal recollections, poetry, careful analysis, and entreaties to take action and speak out

CDT’s 2022 Women’s Day coverage includes a round-up of the ways that Chinese citizens are continuing to pressure the authorities to take trafficking seriously, an analysis of recent demographic and family-planning policy trends, and a translation of “25 Things Men Can Do For Women on Women’s Day,” (Number six: “Don’t ask stupid questions like, “Why is there a Women’s Day, but not a Men’s Day?”) 

Below is the first part in our series featuring the posters, banners, collages, and other artwork created by Chinese women to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, and to continue drawing attention to cases of abused and trafficked women. Compiled by Project Light, a podcast dedicated to telling women’s stories, this collection of “Stories of Women” was quickly deleted by censors, but has been archived and translated by CDT editors:

A group of women rendered in the style of crosswalk-light pedestrians stand in front of a black and red crosswalk, above which there are three stop signs.

Center: “Fight gender-based violence”
Left and right: “March 8, 2022 International Women’s Day”

A yellow poster with a hashtag against gender-based violence and a Chinese caption in a brown bamboo-script, as well as an English slogan bookended by two clenched blue fists.

Hashtag: #Fight gender-based violence
Top: “International Women’s Day”

Red and black poster features a woman shackled to a rose, which grows through and above the chainlink fence that the woman is gazing through.

“Born to be free”

A sketch of two parallel chains with broken, rusty links run from top to bottom across this white poster.

Right: “I don’t want to be coddled as a ‘girl.’”
Center: “I don’t want to be put on a pedestal as a ‘goddess.’”
Left: “I want the rights due to women.”

An image of a rusty chain runs vertically through the center of this yellow poster.

Large text: “Throw off the shackles!”
Small text:
“Wading through this blood and filth
Weighted down by ten-thousand pound shackles
Inscribed with patriarchy, violence, and suffering
We stand in this bleak and desolate world
We are twenty-first century sentient beings
Subsisting in his darkness
We have machines and institutions
But no civilization.
The key, the key…
Where is the hammer that would smash these chains?”

A white poster with stock images arranged in a grid: a chain, a jail cell, a gasoline canister, a raised fist, a suitcase, a computer keyboard, an elevator, a cell phone, a security camera, a moving van, the logo of Wuliangye brand liquor , a shoe, the Pornhub logo, a roll of masking tape, a septic tank, and a drawing of a uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Center, red: “Lethal Weapons”
Center, black: “How do these common everyday objects become instruments of violence against women?”
Bottom: “The above images are drawn from incidents of gender-based violence that made the news in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.”

A photograph of perfectly-stocked grocery store shelves superimposed with the caption rendered in neon-pink with blue highlights.

Center: “We are not commodities”
Left: “International Women’s Day”

A silhouette of a woman is filled in with an image of a grocery store’s product aisles against a black background.

“Stop Trafficking”
“We are not commodities”
“March 8, 2022 – Women’s Day”

A monochrome image of a cliff against a stormy sky with a seagull flying in the upper-left corner.

Top: “International Women’s Day”
Bottom: “They shut her in the kitchen, confined her to the bedroom,
and then marveled that her field of vision was limited.
They broke her wings and then lamented that she couldn’t fly.
May we have a more open future and never be forced back into this status quo.”

Two hands grip the fallopian tubes of a uterus on top of a pink background.


In the foreground, a woman in a gray jumpsuit holds herself in the fetal position as two chains, one black and one red, make an X over her. In the background, a woman in pajamas washes the dishes. To the right there is a vague outline of a woman behind bars, out of which flowers grow and a hand-cuff hangs. Behind the scene is a massive orange circle with a crown atop it and a stain reminiscent of blood.

Left: “March 8 – Happy ‘Queen’s’ Day”
Right: Love yourself and buy, buy, buy
Care for women and be grateful to mothers
Kind, beautiful, gentle, vivacious, mysterious
Don’t ask about the world, better to live a quiet life
Take her in out of kindness, neighborly concern, government subsidy
Family harmony, divorce “cooling-off” period, relax and give birth to three

Orange concentric ovals swirl around the English words “Me Too,” written in a chalky orange over a white background.

Upside down, at top: “International Women’s Day”

Stylized sketch of a bright pink vulva and flesh-colored vagina, with the words “Genesis Gate” inscribed at the entrance to the vagina.

Center: “Genesis Gate”
Bottom: “Title: ‘The Origin of Humanity’”

A collage of feminist artwork, protest photos, and feminist icons, including Joan or Arc, Medusa, Virginia Woolf, Gloria Steinem, the “Notorious RBG,” and Xiaohuamei. An English caption in the center reads, "Women's Day, Women's Right."

Wall graffiti: “Caring about girls is caring about the nation’s future.”

A chained woman is beaten by a shadowy figure upon which dozens of words are written in front of a red-streaked background evocative of blood.

Hashtags at top:
#CallingTheWholeNationTo ReflectOnCulturalAndSystemicRootCauses
Words within the male silhouette: “Traffickers, domestic violence, stigma, hospitals, family planning, civil affairs, public security, women’s federation, law, dowry, bride price, male heir, Fengxian county, Dongji village, clan, country, power, city, province, child-rearing, patriarchy, nationality, rich and poor, objectification.”

This poster depicts shadowy forces yanking a woman depicted on the left panel into the world of a chained woman on the right panel, who is being crushed by a mountain of words.

Center: “Cultural, Systemic, and Legal Root Causes”
Mountain of words: “Traffickers, domestic violence, stigma, hospitals, family planning, civil affairs, public security, women’s federation, law, dowry, bride price, male heir, Fengxian county, Dongji village, clan, country, power, city, province, child-rearing, patriarchy, nationality, rich and poor, objectification.”


With translation by Joseph Brouwer.


Subscribe to CDT


Browsers Unbounded by Lantern

Now, you can combat internet censorship in a new way: by toggling the switch below while browsing China Digital Times, you can provide a secure "bridge" for people who want to freely access information. This open-source project is powered by Lantern, know more about this project.

Google Ads 1

Giving Assistant

Google Ads 2

Anti-censorship Tools

Life Without Walls

Click on the image to download Firefly for circumvention

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.