Betraying Big Brother:
The Feminist Awakening in China
On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2015, the Chinese government arrested five feminist activists and jailed them for thirty-seven days. The Feminist Five became a global cause célèbre, with Hillary Clinton speaking out on their behalf and activists inundating social media with #FreetheFive messages. In the three years since their detention, the authorities have carried out an unprecedented crackdown on feminist activists. But the shrinking public space for discussion of women’s rights has not been able to stop the emergence of a much broader feminist awakening that is transforming women in cities across China. Most recently, thousands of students have joined a #MeToo movement at dozens of university campuses to demand greater protections against sexual harassment and assault. Far too often the role of women in resistance movements is overlooked and the Communist Party has suppressed the history of its own feminist struggles. The speaker will argue that rising feminist consciousness among women who are increasingly fed up with the sexism in their daily lives will have far-reaching consequences for China and the rest of the world.
Leta Hong Fincher is the author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (Verso 2018) and the critically acclaimed Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (Zed 2014). She is the first American to receive a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University’s Department of Sociology in Beijing and also has a master’s degree from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Harvard University. She has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Dissent Magazine, Ms. Magazine, BBC, CNN and others. Leta was a Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and recently moved to New York.
The speaker’s visit to Hong Kong is in part sponsored by the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.
Speaker: Leta Hong Fincher,Author