The U.S. State Department has issued a statement calling for the immediate and unconditional release of five Chinese activists detained before International Women's Day in March.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in the statement Friday that the women had organized a peaceful campaign to help end sexual harassment and promote equal rights for women.
Kerry said that Chinese authorities should support them, not silence them.
China's Foreign Ministry has rejected international calls for the release of the women, calling them interference in the nation's judicial sovereignty. The five have been charged with causing public disorder.