Commentary

China Shuts Down Feminist Groups as Communist Leaders Try to Turn Sinking Birth Rates Around

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Going against the government grain never ends well in China.

From the Red August of 1966 to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, history proves the intolerance of the Chinese government and the ruling Communist Party.

Unfortunately, that intolerance is far from over. Just ask several of the country’s feminist groups, whose accounts were removed from popular Chinese social networking sites Douban and Weibo for supposedly promoting “extreme and ideological content.”

“The deleted Douban channels included groups with links to the so-called ‘6B4T’ movement, a variant of feminism originating from South Korea that urges women to refrain from relationships with men, reject religion and stop buying products such as a corset that are hostile to the female gender,” Reuters reported April 14.

This ideological pushback undermines the Chinese government’s effort to replenish its labor force population by relaxing its controversial one-child rule and encouraging women to have more children.

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Many Chinese women have other plans, however.

They are focusing on “building a career that leads to a delay in marriage and childbirth, or forgoing having a family altogether,” according to the South China Morning Post.

The 6B4T movement in particular promotes ideas that run counter to the Beijing narrative.

According to Quartz, “the ‘6B’ of the term refers to not getting married; not having romantic relationships; not having children; not having sex with men; not buying misogynistic products; and offering help to other single women.”

Should China censor 6B4T?

“Meanwhile,” it said, “the ‘4T’ stands for ditching rigid beauty standards (literally ‘taking off corsets’); rejecting the obsession with Japanese manga and anime (known as Otaku culture) for their hypersexual depictions of women; breaking away from religion; and not partaking in fan culture around male or female celebrities.”

Though such ideas might be seen as extreme even in the West, American networking sites generally don’t censor progressive feminist content.

Anything that undermines a government goal in China, however, is a good candidate for a mysterious disappearance.

“China says it seeks to empower women and protect their rights, but it does not tolerate activities and discourse — online or offline — that it feels could agitate social order or signify defiance to its authority,” Reuters reported.

Still, Beijing’s efforts to curb ideological dissent have not stopped the country’s feminist movement.

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In light of online censorship, many affected feminists push to remain cohesive.

“I firmly support my sisters on Douban, and oppose Douban’s cancellation of feminist channels,” women’s rights activist Zhou Xiaoxuan said, according to Reuters.

What does the growth of this feminist movement say about China’s future?

If this ideology’s expanding presence is as cumbersome to the government as it appears, China’s goal for population replenishment won’t be as easy as planned.

As long as 6B4T’s plans for women differ from those of the Chinese government, we can safely assume its online presence won’t exist for very long.

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Taylor Penley is a government relations intern and student studying English, rhetoric and global studies. She plans to graduate in May 2021 and begin a master of arts program in political science this fall.
Taylor Penley is a government relations intern and student studying English, rhetoric and global studies. She plans to graduate in May 2021 and begin a master of arts program in political science this fall.




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