Is the Chinese Government Trying to Scare Women's Rights Activist Ye Haiyan by Taking Away Her Home?
Here's a story that's making us kind of queasy: According to a blog post from her boyfriend, Ling Haobo, Chinese women's rights activist Ye Haiyan has allegedly been unfairly evicted from her home after weeks of tensions with Chinese authorities.
A few weeks ago, Ye began protesting via social media after a large-scale reveal of several sex scandals in China, including that of a principal who allegedly raped six female students. According to The Guardian, "Ye posted a picture of herself in Hainan holding a poster that read "principal, get a room with me — leave the school kids alone". Her post quickly went viral on Sina Weibo [China's most popular blog, similar to a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter], and thousands of users responded by posting images of themselves holding similar signs."
Days later, 11 people attacked Ye's home in Bobai, Guangxi province. (She attempted to ward them off with a meat cleaver! Badass.) She was then detained for almost two weeks, because authorities claimed she had injured several of her attackers. After that, Ye, her boyfriend, and her teenage daughter fled to Zhongshan, Guangdong province, where they were eventually evicted from her rental home this past Saturday.
I'm not at all familiar with Chinese laws or governmental customs, but it seems outrageously unfair that Ye was not only evicted from, but also harassed in her home because of her political beliefs and actions. Authorities say her eviction has nothing to do with her politics, but her supporters suspect otherwise.
After being evicted, Ye traveled to Guangzhou to get help from Ai Xiaoming, a prominent women's studies professor at Sun Yat-sen University. Ai told the South China Morning Post,"[Ye] is a protector of women and children's rights. The police are supposed to crack down on criminals, but we are seeing the opposite today. This is a disgusting act aimed at humiliating her."
Ye, her boyfriend, and her supporters continue to use social media as part of their activism, as well as to raise awareness of Ye's plight. She has long been an activist for the rights of women and children in China, advocating for the rights of sex workers, beginning in 2005 when she started a website and again in 2006 when she opened a women's rights center in Wuhan province.
So far, Ye has refused to be silenced. Let's hope she is able to continue to use her voice to speak up about the injustices she's suffered, as well as those suffered by women, sex workers, and other disenfranchised groups.