04/14/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing releases activists who protested against sexual harassment

A group of five activists, all women, had organized a protests against harassment on public transport in conjunction with the National People’s Congress. Arrested before 8 March without evidence and without formal charges, they were released with the obligation to provide continuous information to the police on their activities and movements.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese police this morning released a group of five activists, arrested more than a month ago because they were planning a public protest against sexual harassment on public transport.

Their arrest, which occurred just before 8 March - the date they had planned to protest - sparked an outcry from the international community. The authorities released them on bail and without formal charges, but "charges will be laid in the future."

Liang Xiaojun, one of the defense lawyers, explains: " In the eyes of the police, they are still suspects... they will need to regularly update authorities on their whereabouts. In reality their freedom will be restricted for a long time, so there is nothing to be happy about. " The release continues the lawyer, "was not unexpected. They have done nothing wrong and were detained without any evidence”.

The five activists - Wei Tingting, 26; Wang Man, 32; Zheng Churan, 25; Li Tingting, 25, and Wu Rongrong, 30 - wanted to march in a park in Beijing at the annual session of the National People's Congress to protest the sense of impunity granted to men who harass women on the street. They were already involved in other public protests, which all finished with their arrest.

Since coming to power in November 2012, the government led by Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrested hundreds of activists in various fields. According to analysts and experts, this is one of the worst campaigns against freedom of thought and expression in decades in China. At the expense of religious leaders - especially Christian - and human rights advocates.

 

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