Shortly after the close of this year’s International Women’s Day, China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo shut down Feminist Voices. With 180,000 followers, the group’s social media account was one of the most important advocacy channels for spreading information about women’s issues in China, but in an instant, it was gone. A few hours later, the private messaging app WeChat also shuttered an account for the group. The official reasons for the closures were vague, simply that the accounts had posted content that violated regulations, but the subtext was clear: the country’s highly-monitored media was trying to silence women’s advocates.
Days after it went dark, images appeared online of a group of masked women holding a symbolic funeral for the death of Feminist Voices. Yet the group’s founder Lu Pin (now based in the US) wrote on Twitter that she viewed the ritual not as a funeral, but as a “fantastic carnival,” signifying a rebirth, and she pledged to “reclaim the account by every legal avenue.”
“Keeping the movement going will be challenging, but these feminists are tenacious and extremely determined. The Chinese government can’t wipe out the women’s movement in this era of global connectivity.”