After being detained for nearly three months, a Chinese #MeToo activist and journalist, Sophia Huang Xueqin, has been released by authorities in China. Police detained Huang in mid-October of last year in Guangzhou on the vague charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
Huang has been a prominent figure in China’s emerging #MeToo movement, which has had some difficulties getting off its feet, and has worked to help women recount cases of sexual assault and abuse online in an effort to push back against government censors as well as a culture permeated by male domination. In addition to her work in the #MeToo movement, Huang has written about her experiences with protests in Hong Kong. Huang herself exited a career at a national news provider in China after facing harassment by a senior colleague at her job. (NYT2) Friends reported that Huang’s passport was confiscated in August after she began writing about her experiences with the protests in Hong Kong.
According to the New York Times, the Chinese government has attempted to cripple the #MeToo movement by censoring phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” as well as removing online petitions for more protection for women. Although it remains unclear why Huang was both detained and released, human rights activists celebrated but advised vigilance with the Chinese government’s actions to continue to remove dissenting voices.
“This is Xueqin, and I’m back,” she wrote, according to a friend who wishes to remain unidentified and who received the message. “One second of darkness doesn’t make people blind.”
Sources: The New York Times, 1/17/20, 10/24/19, 1/23/18.