Ban may reflect Beijing’s nervousness about the state of US-China relations in the Trump era. Chinese feminists have hit out at their country’s answer to Twitter after it gagged one of their movement’s most visible social media accounts in an apparent bid to stifle criticism of US president Donald Trump.
The “Feminist Voice in China” account on social networking site Sina Weibo was handed a 30-day ban on Monday for allegedly violating Chinese law.
The punishment came six days after the group posted a Chinese translation of an article – first published in the Guardian – in which US-based feminist academics called for a new “militant feminist struggle”, partly in response to Trump’s “aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies”.
The article urged activists to launch an “international strike” on 8 March to protest male violence and support reproductive rights.
Xiong Jing, an editor for the “Feminist Voice”, told the Guardian that Weibo had sent the group a private message on Monday night informing it that the account, which was set up in 2010 and has more than 80,000 followers, had been temporarily blocked. Weibo blamed “recent publications [that] violated the state’s relevant laws”.
Speaking to Radio Free Asia, a US-funded news outlet, Xiong said Weibo had not been “very specific” about its motivations but “we are guessing that it’s because we sent out some tweets calling for a women’s strike action against Trump”.
Li Maizi, one of the leading lights of China’s nascent feminist movement, said the attempt to silence “Feminist Voice” was part of a broader government push to rein in those battling for gender equality. “It is part of a public opinion war and a battle for influence in China.”
By blocking the account, authorities were sending a warning to the movement. “They are dipping their toes [in the water]. It’s like: ‘This time I deleted this one story but next time I’ll delete them all.’”