News / Asia

    Chinese Anti-School Rape Activist Harassed by Mob

    Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin, right, poses for photos with Chinese activist Ye Haiyan outside the venue in Hong Kong where Du Bin first publicly screened his documentary, May 1, 2013. Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin, right, poses for photos with Chinese activist Ye Haiyan outside the venue in Hong Kong where Du Bin first publicly screened his documentary, May 1, 2013.
    x
    Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin, right, poses for photos with Chinese activist Ye Haiyan outside the venue in Hong Kong where Du Bin first publicly screened his documentary, May 1, 2013.
    Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin, right, poses for photos with Chinese activist Ye Haiyan outside the venue in Hong Kong where Du Bin first publicly screened his documentary, May 1, 2013.
    VOA News
    Local authorities in China are taking extreme measures to silence a blogger and activist, after she started a campaign online to raise awareness about the rape of several schoolchildren, and the ineffectiveness of Chinese laws against such violence.

    Ye Haiyan - a prominent feminist based in the southern province of Guangxi - recently traveled to Wanning, a city in the southern island of Hainan, where a school principal and a local government official were accused of raping six schoolgirls.

    The case sparked national outrage because of the cruel nature of the crime, and  reports of inefficiencies and cover-ups by authorities during the initial investigation.

    To highlight the incident, Ye took to Weibo - China's Twitter-like service. She posted pictures of herself in front of the school holding a cardboard sign saying: “School principal, take a room with me instead, leave the children alone."

    The post went viral, with many Internet users and well-known figures in China lending their faces to the cause, and posting similar pictures.

    Then Ye’s troubles began.  Police visited her home.  After an altercation, Ye was arrested for assaulting the police. She was detained for 13 days.  After her release, she returned home and found an angry mob waiting for her.  Ye posted pictures online showing hateful banners hanging above the street in front of her home.

    Ye also posted updates. “This afternoon I went to the police station to make a report,” she wrote in one post, “I requested to apply for protection, but it was not accepted. I will go again tomorrow and make the request again.”

    Beijing lawyer Tang Jitian said that local authorities have done nothing to ensure Ye's safety.

    “Not only they have not handled the issue well by detaining her in the first place,” he said, “but neither police nor the local government came up with an effective way to help her.  I saw that at the end the mob dispersed, but that is not a guarantee that this won't happen again."

    A person answering the phone at the Bobai county police station did not answer questions about Ye Haiyan, and said to check the government's Internet page for information.

    Days before Ye was freed from police custody, fellow activist and filmmaker Ai Xiaoming posted topless pictures of herself. On her chest she reproduced Ye Haiyan's plea on behalf of schoolchildren in China.

    “Carrying banners on the street is not permitted and it is treated as a crime and as a provocation,” she said, “If I cannot walk the streets and hold banners, at least I can write my protest on my body and put the picture online, which is a public space.”

    Ai said that these kinds of campaigns are essential in the fight against sexual violence in schools.

    “The head of the families [whose children have been molested] are receiving enormous pressure, and they need the support of the society so that they can unite and denounce these crimes,” said Ai Xiaoming.

    One of their challenges is getting accurate, consistent facts.

    Chinese media have reported on the different results in the girls' medical examinations. During a first tests the victims' hymens showed damage, but shortly after, the hospital changed its conclusion and said they were intact.

    Ai Xiaoming said these discrepancies illustrate another obstacle to justice for the victims.

    “To preserve their images, local government officials don't do their duty in persecuting these crime,” Ai said, “On the contrary, they cover up.”

    Last month, at least six primary school teachers were detained for allegedly sexually assaulting girls, some as young as eight years old. Responding to this string of rape cases, authorities have pledged to strictly prosecute the offenders.

    In Hainan, the school principal and the government employee accused of raping the six school girls are being prosecuted. Rape is punishable with sentences up to the death penalty in China.

    Lawyer Tang Jitian said that activism by citizens like Ye Haiyan complements the work of the government and the courts.

    “We need to have NGOs and social workers do these attempts to protect human rights,” he said. “But if the government does not tolerate this kind of people [activists], then I think that there is a big problem with the government.”

    Ye Haiyan’s problems continue. She has been evicted from her home, and after receiving increasing pressure from local authorities as well as unidentified mobs, she is now looking for a house elsewhere.

    Tang Jitian said that ultimately Bobai's authorities will reach their goal: to move an outspoken activist off their turf.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora