Multiple Women from "Occupying Men's Room" 3 years Ago Face Cross-provincial Investigation by "Beijing Police"
Dear colleagues, volunteers, partner organizations and friends:
In the past two weeks, multiple women who participated in "Occupying Men's Room" Campaign in 2012 are facing cross-provincial investigations by men claimed to be the "Beijing Police." According to witnesses, "Beijing Police" went to multiple cities and looked for these women through various ways. The focus of their investigation is the "Occupying Men's Room" campaign three years ago. Moreover, the police claimed that the reason for investigation is 'picking quarrels and provoking troubles' case of the Feminist Five. We are here to inform the news, and point out the following:
- Since many of 'The Feminists Five' detained by the Beijing Police were participants of the "Occupying Men's Room" campaign in 2012, the cross-provincial investigation campaign by "Beijing Police" was obviously a way to collect 'evidence' from the Feminist Five, rather than an action directed towards the individual women under investigation.
2. When caught, the Feminists Five were planning on an legal-awareness-raising campaign to raise awareness on anti-sexual-harassment. They were detained under the charge of 'picking quarrels and provoking troubles.' However, because this awareness raising campaign was still in preparation and had not been carried out yet, the campaign does not constitute actual 'picking quarrels and provoking troubles'. If the so-called "Beijing Police" has to change the name of the charge or directions of investigation in order to turn an impossible case to an 'ironclad case,' then it is without doubt that the "Beijing Police" was arresting the "criminals" before fabricating evidence out of thin air, which constitutes an illegal investigation method.
3."Women Occupying Men's Room" took place three years ago in the spring of 2012. The first "Occupying Men's Room" even took place in Guangzhou on Feb. 19th 2012. In a letter to men, women volunteers wrote: "In this 'Occupying Men's Room,' we demand neither money nor sex. We only want to solve the problem [of having to wait in long lines, which] almost every woman faces." Waiting in long lines for the women's room is an experience every woman faces whenever she goes out shopping, eating, or travelling. Men usually need to wait outside the women's room for their female friends as well. During holidays, it is always the case that there is a long line in front of the women's room, while the men's room is empty.
The "occupying" women did not intend to stay long in the men's room, nor did they intend to confront the men in the toilet. Rather, they intended to use the 'men's room' 'temporarily' to help the women who desperately needed to use the toilet. The campaign was a short performance art. It did not intend to "disturb the public order," and nor was there any conflicts or disturbance of public order.
Judging from the aftermath, an entertaining and creative action like "Occupying Men's Room" attracted the attention of the media, legislative force, and the government on the issues of "Long lines before women's room." During the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 2012, the government of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Shijiazhuang, Nanchang, Taiyuan introduced relevant policies. At the end of 2012, "Occupying Men's Room" was mentioned as one of the "2012 Top Ten Gender Equality News" by CN Women.
If a widely recognized beneficial action like this would be regarded as "criminal action" three years later, then we could only sadly predict that more beneficial actions are in danger of being mistaken as "criminal actions."
4. We understand the police's nervousness and worries in the face of the word "occupy." Three years ago when women were "occupying," some police already equated this "occupying" to "occupying Wall Street." Three years after, it is already widely acknowledged that this "occupying" (of men's room) is different from that "occupying" (Wall Street). If the police 'changes colors at every sound of occupying' – even goes so far as to arrest anyone who participates in the occupying, then the action of the police would have no law as its base.
Beijing Yirenping Center
April. 5th, 2015
 The Feminist Five are: Li Tingting (李婷婷), Zheng Churan (郑楚然), Wei Tingting (韦婷婷), Wang Man (王曼), Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘)
Anti-Discrimination NGO Beijing Yirenping Center searched by "policemen" while advocating for the release of five feminist activists
March 25, 2015
Dear colleagues, volunteers, partner organizations, and friends:
As confirmed by multiple witnesses, the office of Beijing Yirenping Center, an anti-discrimination NGO, located at Zhongsheng Office Building, Bei Feng Wo Road, Haidian District, Beijing, was searched by approximately 20 "policemen." Door locks were damaged, and several items were taken away.
According to witnesses, the search took place in early morning, March 24th. According to the entrance guard of the Zhongsheng Building, a group of men in police uniform, claiming to be from "City Police Bureau," together with an already seized employee of Yirenping entered Yirenping's office (note: this individual has since been released). The entrance guard did not know which police precinct these "policemen" were from. After calling a local police precinct, we still did not gain any information about the affiliation of these "policemen." The search lasted four to five hours, and the "police" took financial documents and computers away from the office.
Yirenping is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting social justice and public health. It was founded on December 2006 with a mission to advocate for legal justice, eliminate discrimination, and promote equality. Since its establishment, Yirenping has helped individuals, including Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) carriers, HIV carriers, women, and the persons with disabilities bring anti-discrimination lawsuits against private and public employers and educational institutions.
In 2010, Yirenping initiated a program on the rights of persons with disabilities, and started to work with other organizations to expose discrimination against people with disabilities in the civil service.
In 2012, Yirenping initiated a program on gender equality. It was through this opportunity that we got in touch with a lot of outstanding feminists. In 2012 alone, they started a series of performance art actions, including "Bloody Brides," "Occupy Men's Bathroom," "Mulan in Job Fair," "Anti-Li Yang, the Domestic Violence Perpetrator," "Bald Girls for Education Equality," and so on. These feminist actions were supported and praised by the society. "Gender Equality for College Entrance Exam" and "Occupy Men's Bathroom" were included by the China Women Newspaper among the "Top 10 News Stories on Gender Equality in 2012." From that time on, Yirenping began encouraging these young women's rights activists to establish their own structures and engage in actions independently.
On the eve of International Women's Day 2015, five of the young feminists were criminally detained on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles" in connection with planning an action against sexual harassment in public transportation. One of them is a colleague in our program on sexuality and diversity. Both we and other concerned people in China and abroad are shocked by this incident, and have called for their release through information dissemination, speeches, performance art actions, interviews, and so on.
Beijing Yirenping Center believes:
1. In China, there still exist severe gender discriminations and other phenomena that harm women's rights. What the five feminist activists have done were intended to promote women's rights. Therefore, Chinese government should encourage and support, rather than punish, the five.
2. The Chinese government should pay attention to the domestic and international statements calling for the release of the five feminist activists, rather than suppress and censor them.
3. Over the years, Yirenping's work has benefited the nation and the people. The Chinese government should support and encourage our work, rather than smear our organization in various ways, and even use agencies of force to fabricate evidence and trump up charges.
We emphasize that an organization like Yirenping Center has been working within the legal framework. However, under the current social structure, our legal activism such as lawsuits and legislative participation might have displeased many special interest groups, such as unprincipled companies, corrupt government officials, and stability maintenance departments. In summer 2009, a suspended government official from the Beijing Cultural Department came to Yirenping's office to conduct a "law-enforcement inspection." We filed a complaint with the procuratorate, and forestalled the "law-enforcement inspection." The government should step up its prevention of retaliatory attacks by such interest groups that use their public power for private gain.
We will further seek confirmation of the affiliation of the searchers, investigate the legal aspects of this action, and initiate legal procedures such as filing complaints and charges regarding this incident.
Beijing Yirenping Center
March 25, 2015
Address: Room 2105A, Zhongsheng Office Building, 2 Bei Feng Wo Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China, 100038
Appendix: Introduction to Beijing Yirenping Center
Beijing Yirenping Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting social justice and civil rights. It was founded on December 19, 2006 with a mission to eliminate discrimination, and to defend the rights of disadvantaged groups through legal means.
High Impact and Strategic Litigation
Beijing Yirenping Center has assisted plaintiffs in nearly 200 anti-discrimination lawsuits, most of which were high impact and high profile. For example, Yirenping helped victims file the following China's "first-ever cases" against:
Hepatitis B status privacy infringement;
HIV/AIDS-related discrimination in work place;
Hepatitis C discrimination;
Discrimination related to physical appearance;
Gender discrimination in employment;
Disability discrimination in public servant recruitment.
the first case against HIV/AIDS-related discrimination in work place
Law and Rights Education
Yirenping has held Hepatitis B group therapy sessions and workshops on mental health talks in ten cities as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, etc.
Yirenping has also held trainings for Hepatitis B and HIV carriers, persons with disabilities as well as carriers of other diseases on their legal rights and how to combat discrimination. These training have been held in over ten of cities, including Wuhan, Nanjing, Shenzhen, etc.
Yirenping performed outreach activities in more than 20 universities across the country. The activities were aimed at increasing public awareness of anti-discrimination laws and disseminating knowledge about public health.
Yirenping held training sessions and legal seminars for lawyers on the rights and anti-discrimination issues concerning people with mentally illness.
Since September 2008, Yirenping has provided legal counsel and aid to victims of the Sanlu poison milk powder scandal.
Training Courses on Employment Discrimination Laws
Yirenping has strongly contributed to the improved rights protection for China's nearly 100 million Hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers by advocating anti-discrimination legislation..
2007-2011: Yirenping wrote over twenty motions and recommendations for National People's Congress (NPC) deputies and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members, who then submitted them to the annual NPC & CPPCC sessions..
March 2007: Yirenping called on NGOs to focus on the non-discrimination articles of the draft of the Employment Promotion Law, which left out Hepatitis B and AIDS discrimination. Yirenping later successfully lobbied the deputies of the NPC to submit proposals to amend the draft and finally got the draft amended.
October 2010: Yirenping sent a letter to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and The Ministry of Health, advocating for a review and subsequent elimination of current discrimination against HIV carriers in China's civil servant recruitment system.
Occupy Men's Toilet
Notable Events and Activities
July 2007: One of the founders of the Beijing Yirenping Center, took part in China's first anti-HBV discrimination protest in Hong Kong, which was widely reported by the press.
October 2007, Yirenping has hosted the first national representative assembly of HBV carriers.
May 2008: Yirenping organized a series of activities in a dozen provinces and cities to celebrate the first World Hepatitis Day. The activities included gathering Hepatitis B carriers and flying kites to express good wishes to people living in the areas stricken by the Sichuan earthquake. Also, Beijing Yirenping, representing the Hepatitis B and AIDS communities, submitted an appeal to the state Ministry of Commerce to grant licenses for the production of Lamivudine, a vital medicine in the fight against Hepatitis B and AIDS. The appeal was signed by 1843 citizens around the country.
June 2008: Yirenping held a press conference in Hong Kong calling for the central government to investigate the blocking of the "In the Hepatitis B Camp" website, which was a renowned Chinese forum that fought against discrimination.
November 2008: One of the founders of the Beijing Yirenping Center, travelled to Nokia's Finland headquarters to protest a subsidiary of Nokia's discrimination against HBV carriers in the city of Dongguan, China.
China's First National Representative Assembly of HBV carriers.
Surveys & Research
Investigation Report on Hepatitis B Discrimination in China's Higher Education System
Investigation Report on Hepatitis B Discrimination in Multinational Corporations Based in China
Legal Protection Against Employment Discrimination Handbook
2010 Report on Hepatitis B Discrimination in State-Owned Enterprises
Nation wide survey report on the disability discrimination in administration's employment January 2012
2007: One of the founders of the Beijing Yirenping Center was nominated as one of the top 10 candidates for the year's "Legal Figure" by the newspaper Legal Daily.
2009: One of the founders of the Yirenping was awarded Italy-based international award Padre Pino Puglisi.
2010: One of the founders of the Beijing Yirenping Center was selected as one of the year's top ten "Legal Figures" by the CCTV network, the People's Network and the Court Network.
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