By now, the chances are low you have not heard of the ‘#MeToo’ movement, which has empowered women worldwide to talk about their experiences with sexual assault, especially when it comes to awkward experiences at work with powerful figures. The movement quickly spread globally, causing

Though attempts to silence women speaking out about these assaults have definitely been made, none have been as widespread and organized as those of the Chinese social media companies, where women noticed their posts including the popular hashtags being removed.

According to The Conversation, the name change came around January 19 when hundreds of social media posts using #MeTooInChina (#MeToo在中国) were reportedly deleted by internet censors. Forums addressing the topic were reportedly removed as well.

In response, Chinese feminists started using “米兔” or”Rice Bunny” emojis, because the phonetics of the two characters “Mi Tu” closely resemble the name of the English movement. This gave Chinese women the opportunity to continue sharing their stories while avoiding the censorship.

 

#MeToo in China

The movement arrived in China when Luo Xixi, a Chinese citizen, shared her story of sexual harassment on January first. The women who was residing in Silicon Valley decided to not only share her story with the people around her, but also with the people back in her home country of China. She shared her 3000-word post on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media site.

The story of how she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor and renowned professor Chen Xiaowu quickly received millions of views and was widely circulated on both social and state media. In response to the story, Xiaowu was quickly fired by the university.

Encouraged and empowered by her Xixi’s story, more women came forward with the experiences that they had kept silent for so long, mainly concerning sexual assaults within academic institutions and universities.

In many ways the #MeToo movement in China wasn’t only about coming out, it was also about changing the stigmatism that comes with sharing their story.

Click here to find out more about the women behind the movement in China.

Avoiding censorship

China is not unfamiliar with online and offline censorships, and it feminist movements seem to be especially targeted in the conservative country.

This is not the first time the Chinese people use clever wordplay to get around the censorship. Two previous examples of this are “river crab” and “grass-mud horse”, which because of their pronunciations in Chinese are used to hide a secret meaning. The former is used to indicate censorship and the latter refers to a Chinese obscenity.

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