BEIJING – Young women have emerged as prominent voices in protests against Covid Zero in China over the weekend, resulting in draconian policies sudden lockdown And for months it brought misfortune to millions of people across the country.
On the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, women in some areas ignored the large police presence and joined fellow protesters venting their anger and frustration at local officials and the Communist Party. Some women were also observed giving impassioned speeches despite possible consequences.
The widespread participation of women in the latest wave of mass protests highlights the changing role of women in conservative Asian societies. They’ve increased their share of the workforce in the world’s second-largest economy, pursued personal life choices, and fought discrimination, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence in the workplace.
A woman in her 40s who took part in the Shanghai protests has particular reason to be upset about Covid-19 restrictions, as women will handle most of the housework and childcare. She added that she has also faced domestic violence and declined to give her name for security reasons.
Dr. Maria Lepnikova, an assistant professor of international communications at Georgia State University, said that in China’s patriarchal society, “they have less to lose and potentially more to gain by protesting.” “Dictatorships tend to build their legitimacy on conservative family values that dislike women and their participation in politics,” she said.
The demonstrations that spread online and on college campuses were sparked by reports on social media: At least 10 killed in apartment block fire in Urumqi, the capital of the far-western Xinjiang region. Chinese Communist Party leaders have not faced more violent protests since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
Li, who declined to give his full name for security reasons, said he had attended such rallies in one area of Shanghai, and had seen demonstrations in Hong Kong more than two years ago and recent protests in Iran. He added that he remembered.
“I just wanted to be there,” said the 29-year-old advertising industry worker. “It doesn’t matter if you just stand there. In general, Chinese women are more action-oriented and outspoken than men.”
A woman was spotted giving a speech on the banks of the Liangmahe River in Beijing on Sunday night questioning why the media did not report on an apartment fire in Xinjiang.
At the university, female students were not only participating in protests, they were starting protests. In some video clips, some stood silently holding a blank piece of paper, unencumbered by teachers and mostly male security guards.