Holding up half the sky, but taking all the rap
This is Danwei Week, a summary of the most important China stories from the last seven days. We’ll choose a maximum of five topics per week, and try to link to the best coverage of them in English. If this new weekly feature works, it will become a standard part of the Sinica podcast.
Depressing news about women in China
The Global Times has a story titled Sexual abuse of children ‘left behind’ by migrant worker parents on rise which suggests that child sexual abuse is more rampant than statistics and news reports portray, particularly amongst the children of migrant workers. As these children are often raised by grandparents or sometimes even live on their own, they are more vulnerable to sexual assault. These cases often go unreported, due to shame or even just naivety of the children involved, although several high profile cases over the last few years have begun to heighten awareness, such as that of 12 year old ‘Xiaoli’ from the Guxian township of Yanshi in Henan Province , who was found to be four months pregnant after prolonged abuse by a man in her county.
Feng Jianmei remains in the news: Feng, a resident of rural Shaanxi, was forced to abort her seven-month old fetus after failed to pay a 40,000 yuan fine. Although yesterday the BBC reported that the head of the family planning bureau in Zhenping county had been sacked, it seems Feng Jianmei’s family’s ordeal is not yet over. After her husband was interviewed by German reporters, a protest was staged outside his home, the centerpiece being large red banners with the motto ‘Strike down the traitors; Kick them out of Zengjia township.’ The Ministry of Tofu has photos of the banners and translations: Forced abortion victim branded ‘traitor’ for talking to foreign media.
In Shanghai, Subway Line Two official Weibo account posted a picture of a female passenger in a semi-transparent outfit, along with comments that included the following: “If that’s what you wear on a subway, then no wonder you will be sexually harassed!” Tea Leaf Nation has rounded up Internet reactions, along with the photo originally posted by the Shanghai subway staff.
In an opinion piece on Foreign Policy, Paul French looks at the media obsession with Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai, accused of and widely believed to be guilty of murder despite the lack of a trial or any evidence in the public domain. Is she just the latest ‘dragon lady’ who is blamed for the failings of the men around her?
Finally, The Economist‘s Analects blog has a piece titled Girl power up, which looks at the some of issues above and more about the place of young women in Chinese society.
Shaxi: Another Riot in Guangdong
Reports claim that thousands of people have been involved in riots in the town of Shaxi in Zhongshan City, Guangdong, with several protestors reported dead and hundreds injured. The riots were allegedly sparked by a fight between a 13 year old and a 15 year old on Monday evening, and descended into a fully fledged brawl between different factions of workers from Sichuan and Guangdong. Armed police from Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Foshan were been called in. China Digital Times has translations, coverage and photos; Beijing Cream has video. The BBC also has a report: China shows force in Shaxi after worker riots.
SARFT announces crackdown on media bribery
On June 13th, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television announced a crackdown on unethical practices in the media, focusing on three areas: individuals that falsely pose as investigative journalists, individuals that receive cash envelopes for interviews and media organizations that engage in corrupt practices. The news comes after a barrage of media bribery related scandals this year. If past crackdowns are any indication, SARFT’s new campaign is unlikely to have any effect at all.
Caixin has a short report on the crackdown.
South China Morning Post self-censorship blues
Further information about self-censorship at the SCMP (covered in last week’s edition of Danwei Week) with this story by veteran China reporter Paul Mooney: Prize-winning reporter driven out of SCMP.