woman who helped to pioneer the #MeToo movement in China has been arrested in Guangzhou after writing about her experiences participating in the Hong Kong protests.
Sophia Huang Xueqin is being charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” an offense that is commonly used by China to detain activists and dissidents. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The South China Morning Post reports that the 30-year-old activist was arrested a week ago and hasn’t been heard from since with her family and friends being barred from visiting her inside the Baiyun District Detention Center.
Huang first came to prominence in 2017 when she revealed her own experiences with workplace sexual harassment while working in China’s state media industry in Guangzhou. Her story helped to inspire others, resulting in some prominent professors getting fired.
She went on to conduct a study of nearly 2,000 female journalists, finding that more than 80 percent had been victim to sexual harassment in the workplace. Most said that they remained silent because they thought reporting the harassment would not achieve anything.
For six months earlier this year, Huang went on academic trips to the United States, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In August, her passport was confiscated, foiling her plans to study law in Hong Kong. Two months later, she was arrested.
While the reasons for Huang’s arrest have not yet been detailed it comes after she authored blog posts about participating in pro-democracy protests during her time in Hong Kong. Reportedly, her parents received a visit from the police in June after she published one article.