Thanks very much to Cuiyan Wen for sending this post to the blog.
‘Principal, get a room with me, leave the children alone.’
On 8 May, a primary principle and a local government official in Wanning, a city of the southern province of Hainan in China, were accused of ‘spending the night in a hotel room with six underage schoolgirls’ (a vague expression from the mainstream media to make the news sound less severe). The news shocked the country.
On 27th May, Ye Haiyan, an activist who speaks for sex workers, was seen outside of the primary school in Wanning, holding a banner that read: ‘Principal, get a room with me, leave the children alone. Contact: 12338; Ye Haiyan.’ 12338 is the national helpline for women and children set up by the government-operated Women’s Federation, which is blamed to give little support to women and children in such incidents. Ye’s photo was rapidly spread and prompted hundreds of others to follow.
On 30 May when she returned home in Bobai in Guangxi Province, a city nearly 500km away from Wanning, Ye was detained by the Bobai authority for assaulting three women who stormed into her apartment with a handful of people. During the detention of Ye, the campaign still went on through internet. In addition to the original protest against the principal’s sexual abuse, some added to their banners, ‘Release Ye Haiyan’. At the same time, another campaign to support Ye Haiyan was launched. Many citizens started to send postcards to the Bobai police station where Ye was detained. Some netizen specifically designed a postcard for downloading and printing. The campaign was widely responded. Hundreds of people sent postcards and posted their photos holding the postcard at the post box and post office before sending it.
In the latter phase of the campaign, the most impressive wave was provoked by the 60-year-old professor and activist Ai Xiaoming. She posted a self-portrait. In the picture, she held the scissors, bared her upper body and wrote on her breasts, ‘Get a room with me. Release Ye Haiyan!’
Ye was released on 13 June, but was evicted from her home under threats from local people and the authority.
Further news of the school sexual abuses
Further news of Ye Haiyan and the protest
Further news of Ai Xiaoming, with parts of the translation of her public letter
Ye Haiyan: @liumangyan
Professor Ai Xiaoming: @xiaocao07