Target: Yin Yanjing, Head of Haidian Detention Center
Goal: Free five women’s rights defenders held for their activism.
Five women’s rights activists in China have been arrested on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” as a result of their planned activities for International Women’s Day. The charge is often used to suppress activism and carries a sentence of up to five years. Demand that these activists be freed immediately.
Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Li Tingting (aka Li Maizi), Zheng Churan (aka Da Tu), and Wu Rongrong were all arrested in the span of two days after working on a campaign to end sexual harassment on public transportation and mark International Women’s Day. They were not charged with anything until nearly a week after their initial detention, and although a lawyer was allowed to see them the day the charges were brought against them, earlier attempts to make contact with the women had been rebuffed by prison officials, who had insisted they were not being held at the facility.
Zheng and Li are staff members of Weizhiming Women Center, a Women’s Rights NGO founded by Wu. The organization’s office was raided following the women’s arrests, and the women’s phones and personal computers were also confiscated by police.
Wei, Wang, Li, Zheng, and Wu are all doing incredibly important work to combat gender discrimination in China. Their efforts should be praised, not stymied. Sign the petition and demand that the women be released and the charges against them be dropped, and that in the meantime they have access to legal representation and medical care and are guaranteed freedom from torture and ill-treatment.
Dear Director Yin,
I am writing to urge the immediate release of Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Li Tingting (aka Li Maizi), Zheng Churan (aka Da Tu), and Wu Rongrong, all of whom were arrested as a result of their women’s rights activism and charged with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” They are doing essential work and their efforts should be lauded and supported, not stymied. I implore you to release the women immediately and allow them to continue their efforts without interference.
The women were held without charge for nearly a week after their arrests, and during that time a lawyer’s attempts to visit them were rebuffed by officials who claimed that the women were not at the facility when they in fact were. Additionally, following Wu Rongrong’s arrest a friend reported receiving a phone call from Wu in which Wu could be heard crying out in pain before the line went dead. The friend made subsequent attempts to contact Wu, but was unsuccessful.
Free access to lawyers and protection from torture and ill-treatment are among the most basic human rights in the world. It is imperative that while they remain in custody Wei, Wang, Li, Zheng, and Wu are granted unfettered access to legal representation and medical attention and that they are protected from torture and ill-treatment.
Do the right thing: Drop the charges and release these women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: VictoriaOP via Wikimedia Commons