#Ricebunny: How China is Saying #MeToo

  • October 19, 2018

What do #MeToo and #RiceBunny have in common? They are both hashtags that are used by activists and feminists to spread the word about sexual abuse and harassment. It is their way of saying that enough is enough.

#RiceBunny got its name from the words “mi” and “tou.” In Mandarin Chinese, “mi” means rice, and “tou” means bunny or rabbit. When the words are said together, it sounds similar to “me too.” Emojis of a rice bowl and a bunny are also used in some social media posts.

If you’re wondering why activists and feminists in China aren’t saying #MeToo, it is simply because they just can’t.  Over the past couple of years, China has picked on some movements by feminists in particular and censored them, according to Business Insider.

According to an article posted on the website The Conversation, some chat page and social media users found out that their posts about #MeToo were deleted.

Some time around January 19th, 2018, the #MeTooInChina was censored for some time. Users of the social media site Sina Weibo one of China’s top social media platforms, also called Weibo, started #RiceBunnyInChina to continue on with the movement. In fact, one Weibo page for #ricebunny has around 2.2 million views.

Luo Xixi, who is one Chinese citizen, told her story of sexual harassment on Weibo on January 1st, 2018. Her 3,000 word long post to the site brought up the fact that she was harassed by an old supervisor and well-known professor, Chen Xiaowu twelve years ago. Chen Xiaowu was then fired from the university. This specific case has been seen as a victory for the movement in China.

Five women were arrested in China in 2015 for “provoking trouble.” They were attempting to celebrate International Women’s Day. One of the ways they were trying to do this was by talking about sexual misconduct, which is a topic that is difficult to talk about in China because of how the feminist movements are treated.

The Chinese government will censor words that they don’t agree with, but they will probably have a much harder time censoring motivated activists who want to make a change.

Art by Iris Seo.

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