Xiao Meili

Quick Hit: Chinese feminist Xiao Meili speaks out

Last week, The New York Times featured an op-ed from Xiao Meili, Chinese feminist, advocate, and friend of the previously detained Chinese “Feminist Five.” 

In the op-ed, Xiao Meili describes her own feminist awakening in the context of China’s current political landscape. Like so many of us, she remembers a growing awareness of unequal dynamics within the family in her childhood, having this sense bolstered in college with feminist readings, and then creating a community of feminists to take to the streets, the Internet, and across the world.

Xiao Meili and her fellow feminists in China are fighting for similar issues that this great Feministing community also puts our deepest energies behind. As they continue to press for change within their country and as their government continues pushing back, they surely will place themselves into further risk but also towards further progress. We must continue to keep their struggle in our frame of focus; Nancy Tang offers great suggestions here. In Xiao Meili’s words:

The arrest of my five friends, which occurred in the days before International Women’s Day, showed that the government has become scared of a group of young women because of our ability to mobilize a large network of supporters. They were incarcerated on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” even though the event was still in the planning stage and our past activities were carried out peacefully. The police punished my friends to intimidate other social and political activists.

In the near future, even though we may have to adjust our strategies to cope with this tough environment, we’ll never give up. We hope the international community will not either.

Feminism was never a taboo topic in China because our messages were consistent with those of the government, which calls itself an advocate of women’s rights. But all that changed with the arrest of what the media dubbed the “Feminist Five.” In an unexpected way, the police helped create more public interest in feminism in China.

Read the rest here.

San Francisco, CA

Suzanna Bobadilla is a writer, activist, and digital strategist. According to legend, she first publicly proclaimed that she was a feminist at the age of nine in her basketball teammate's mini-van. Things have obviously since escalated. After graduating from Harvard in 2013, she became a founding member of Know Your IX's ED ACT NOW. She is curious about the ways feminists continue to use technology to create social change and now lives in San Francisco. She believes that she has the sweetest gig around – asking bad-ass feminists thoughtful questions for the publication that has taught her so much. Her views, bad jokes and all, are her own. For those wondering, if she was stranded on a desert island and had to bring one food, one drink, and one feminist, she would bring chicken mole, a margarita, and her momma.

Suzanna Bobadilla is a writer, activist, and digital strategist.

Read more about Suzanna

Join the Conversation