In March, Chinese authorities detained five women who had staged a demonstration ahead of International Women’s Day, protesting sexual harassment on public transportation. They have since been released, but say they could still face charges.
Amnesty International said ahead of a United Nations meeting of world leaders on gender equality co-hosted by China and UN Women that the Chinese government must stop repressing female activists if it is serious about advancing women and girls human rights.
Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International said “It is hypocritical of President Xi Jinping to use the world stage to proclaim the importance of women’s human rights while the Chinese authorities continue to throw in jail women fighting for these rights,”
“The Chinese government continues to silence women like Su Changlan and Wang Yu. These are the voices that must be heard if women’s human rights and gender equality are to advance.”
Few women are in senior positions in China’s government. Of the 25 members of the Politburo of the Communist Party, two are women. Women complain of widespread employment discrimination in many industries, and of glass ceilings where their rise in a company is inhibited by their gender.
Analysts say Beijing is likely trying to enhance its prestige in the area of human rights and could be setting the stage for exporting government-funded non-government organizations across the world.
– Some reporting by Saibal Dasgupta & William Ide VOA