The new hashtag of #NoPerfectVictim on China’s popular Twitter-like social media website Weibo sparked conversation this week on rape culture and victim blaming in China. The hashtag emerged from conversation around a resurfaced video – which originally went viral in 2018 — depicting Richard Liu (a CEO and conglomerate) and Jingyao Liu walking consensually into her apartment, moments before she alleges he then raped her. Social media users pointed to the video as “proof” that their interaction was consensual, even going as far as titling the video as ‘Proof of a Gold Digger Trap?’, but anti-violence activists have pushed back calling attention to the fact that there is #NoPerfectVictim. This hashtag is a new branch of the #MeToo movement in China, due to extreme censorship from the government.
Posts with hashtags such as #MeToo or related have been blocked or deleted promptly on Weibo. Certain posts with #MeToo are kept, so long as they deal with other countries and are unrelated to China. Censorship has also spread to Weibo’s chat app, WeChat, where forums and messages related to #MeToo and sexual assault are deleted or blocked. Since the censorship, activists have turned to different hashtags such as #NoPerfectVictim to continue the conversation around sexual assault and harassment in China.
The hashtag use of #MeToo came to a halt when in March of 2018 on International Women’s Day, Chinese feminists attempted to campaign with #MeToo and realized that they were blocked by Chinese censors. The movement picked up in China in late 2017 but sparked off New Years of 2018 when Luo Xixi, a Chinese woman who had since moved to the US, shared the story of how her university professor sexually harassed her 12 years prior. Ms. Xixi’s story took off, and with it, #MeToo in China.
From a country that according to UN Women has no official national statistics for any time-length of physical or sexual violence against women, this censorship should not come as a surprise. While in 2017, #MeToo put the reality of gender-based violence on display, in 2019, it stands as a statement of lack of change in the political process.
Media Resources: New York Times 6/5/2019; Inkstone 3/8/2018; Global Voices, advox 3/25/2019; Feminist Newswire 12/21/2017