With Hong Kong’s new chief, the future for progressive politics looks more challenging – for feminists, it was already bleak

Activists and students additionally say the transfer will only additional hinder civil liberties and human rights, together with one which has already come underneath fireplace: the metropolis’s embattled gender motion.

“If John Lee adopts the Mainland China mannequin of managing civil society, this will likely convey about an extra onslaught of Hong Kong’s as soon as vibrant civil society,” says Diana Fu, Associate Professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “In the mainland mannequin, civil society teams that advocate for liberal rights — together with gender equality — are seen as conduits of Western affect.”

“Gender consciousness must be promoted from the backside up,” stated Petula Ho, an area feminist scholar. “But it’s like the complete of society has given up on this issue.”

The previous a number of years haven’t been good for feminism and gender rights in Hong Kong. The pro-democracy protests that rocked the metropolis additionally noticed girls protestors reportedly trolled online and sparked #ProtestToo, a uncommon #MeToo-model sub-motion the place hundreds gathered following allegations of sexual assault by the police. One grievance, filed by a young person who accused officers of gang rape throughout the protests, was dropped by the Department of Justice as a consequence of “opposite proof.”
While praised for the energetic involvement of girls protesters, the pro-democracy motion itself has additionally been criticized for sexism. Female authorities officers, law enforcement officials and critics of the motion confronted sexualized insults and threats; frontline girls protesters have been idealized as martyrs, which some feminists have condemned as it presents girls as only being of worth of their sacrifice.

“[The pro-democracy movement] has this populist ingredient which has made it more patriarchal and more troublesome for variety and gender points to exist,” stated Ho, who has researched these dynamics and instructed FinalNews24 she’s confronted assaults on social media for her critiques.

Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong has made it more troublesome to advocate for any causes, not to mention gender-associated ones.

Since the implementation of the nationwide safety legislation in 2020, over 50 civil society teams, from commerce and academics’ unions to scholar organizations, have disbanded. And more than 180 individuals (together with activists and pro-democracy figures who’ve advocated for gender points) have been arrested since the legislation was enacted in June 2020, in accordance with a tracker run by ChinaFile journal.
Pro-democracy protesters being arrested by police during a clash at a demonstration in Wan Chai district on October 6, 2019 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Amthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Following an overhaul of the metropolis’s electoral system to make sure loyalty to the Chinese state, pro-Beijing lawmakers and councilors now dominate the metropolis’s legislature. After the reforms, more than 200 district councilors have both resigned or been disqualified and plenty of have been arrested on nationwide safety grounds, forcing out virtually all opposition.

Those ousted embody Tiffany Yuen, a former district councilor with a background of selling girls’s rights and Raymond Chan, Hong Kong’s first lawmaker who publicly recognized as homosexual, in addition to three different homosexual and lesbian district councilors.

Kenneth Cheung, a type of councilors, democratically elected into workplace by voters in 2019 earlier than he was disqualified by authorities, stated the expulsion of pro-democracy politicians will additional scale back avenues for gender advocacy in the authorities.

Cheung stated many researchers and workplace workers engaged on gender-associated initiatives with pro-democracy lawmakers at the moment are unemployed, and there may be now much less progressive illustration on these points in public boards. The closing of progressive media retailers akin to Stand News has already weakened protection on these matters, he added.

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“When I look forward at the subsequent 5 to 10 years, I really feel depressed,” Cheung stated, explaining that democracy and progressive causes are intrinsically linked. “Before, democratic politicians would increase points about marginalized communities or invite questions. In the coming period, we in all probability will not see this anymore.”

Political modifications have additionally hampered the gender activism of Lily Wong, a intercourse activist and former member of the now-disbanded pro-democracy group Demosisto. In 2020, Wong co-based a YouTube channel exploring intercourse-associated matters referred to as “Faan Hou ABC,” with Yuen and one other pro-democracy activist Ho Ka-yau.

The channel initially took off as a consequence of its pro-democracy stances, however was in a position to seize a wider viewers by linking points about intercourse and gender to democracy and liberal values.

“Compared to the 2014 Umbrella Movement, more girls have been accepted on the frontlines in 2019, which was an enormous change,” Wong instructed FinalNews24, including that whereas she too, like Ho, condemned the sexist conduct by some protesters, the motion did positively affect individuals’s attitudes in the direction of girls in different methods. “Although points like gender have been secondary, I feel these secondary points nonetheless progressed.”

When Yuen was charged with allegedly violating nationwide safety final yr, nevertheless, the girls shut down the channel. “In the coming years, I feel individuals might be more cautious when it involves partaking with political causes,” Wong stated.

FinalNews24 put to the authorities the problems with shrinking civil society area, Carrie Lam’s document on gender initiatives and the allegations of sexual assault by the police.

“The allegation isn’t any additional from the reality,” a authorities spokesperson instructed FinalNews24, including that the rights of Hong Kong residents are “protected in accordance with the legislation” however that “many freedoms and rights usually are not absolute, and will be restricted for causes together with safety of nationwide safety and public security.”

In response to allegations of police misconduct, the spokesperson stated legislation enforcement companies take actions primarily based on “proof,” are accountable for sustaining public security, and can “train skilled judgment to take acceptable actions, together with utilizing the minimal drive as vital.”

No remark was made about the out-going chief, Lam.

Hong Kong, nonetheless ready for its feminist rebellion

The future for progressive politics might look bleak now. But when it involves feminism and gender equality, Hong Kong has lengthy been a challenging setting.

Unlike in different components of the world, the #MeToo motion did not get mainstream acceptance right here. Hong Kong has carried out properly on some gender equality metrics. The 2021 report from the Women’s Commission — set as much as promote the growth of girls in Hong Kong — shows that over the previous decade girls outnumbered males in greater education schemes funded by the University Grants Committee, and that their participation in some fields {and professional} roles had additionally grown.

However, many feminists say greater illustration has not translated into real equality and society stays deeply patriarchal.

Take sexual violence which Hong Kong’s Women’s Foundation described as a “pervasive, deeply regarding downside”. A 2021 survey by the Hong Kong Women’s Coalition on Equal Opportunities discovered that just about 40% of respondents (37.5%) say they skilled sexual violence of their lifetime — up from 15% when the survey was final carried out in 2013. Fear of being blamed and never believed have been reportedly two of the primary causes victims do not search assist.
The Women’s Foundation, citing authorities figures, additionally revealed an infographic in 2019 that included particulars akin to “only 55% of girls are in the workforce” and “Hong Kong has a gender pay hole of twenty-two%”
In well-liked tradition, sexist tropes, akin to the stereotype of the “Kong woman” — a girl from Hong Kong who’s materialistic and pampered — additionally proceed to proliferate.
Even when the metropolis had a feminine chief govt, Carrie Lam, few noticed her tenure as a win for girls’s rights. Not only did Lam overlook the issue of gender in her public addresses all through her time in workplace, she has additionally been accused of utilizing the proven fact that she is a mom to deflect criticism of her actions.

“She used her picture to justify sure actions and current herself as a superb mom, as if by advantage of being a mom that [a positive] implication is there,” Ho instructed FinalNews24. “But then in fact individuals actually do not assume she’s motherly in any respect, she is someone who we predict is in opposition to ethics of care.”

Some may say that Hong Kong in latest occasions has seen more progress on LGBTQ+ points than on girls’s rights, however China’s hardening stance on LGBTQ+ activism on the mainland has additionally started to trickle down into Hong Kong politics, sparking issues over a new surge in conservatism.
In the run as much as the Gay Games — a world sporting, arts and tradition occasion organized for the LGBTQ+ group — some pro-Beijing lawmakers have condemned the occasion which is because of happen in November 2023, calling it a “risk to nationwide safety” and a guise by which to advertise political causes.
While the LGBTQ+ group has seen some legal victories lately, the metropolis has no legal protections in opposition to discrimination on the foundation of sexual orientation and gender identification, and similar-intercourse marriage has but to be legalized. “I’m actually involved. The state of affairs is getting worse,” says Alvin Cheung, a homosexual activist and social employee.

Despite the more repressive political environment, there are nonetheless small teams and people creating protected areas to speak about gender and sexuality, notably online, in accordance with Grace Ting, assistant professor of gender research at the University of Hong Kong.

Ming Chan, a transgender activist in her 20s, is considered one of them. In 2020, she helped co-discovered Quarks, a trans and non-binary youth help group that now has some 2,700 followers on social media.

Chan says some communities like hers are thriving, as a result of after the pro-democracy motion, more persons are realizing that they’ll impression society in numerous methods.

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“I’m fortunate to have such an area,” Chan instructed FinalNews24. “I imagine a few of the energies generated from the political motion have been transferred to the gender equality and feminist motion, as a result of it’s a discipline the place you possibly can nonetheless do one thing.”

Story of the week

"Pranaiya was ambitious and driven," said her sister, Pong. But she feared she "was not a good mother". (Photo courtesy of Hamish Magoffin)

It is estimated that postpartum melancholy (PPD) impacts one in 10 girls, but there may be nonetheless little consciousness and far stigma around it. FinalNews24 tells the intimate, harrowing story of 1 household’s battle with the situation.

Pranaiya was a cheerful mother – then she started speaking about eager to disappear – FinalNews24

Women Behaving Badly: Ma Anand Sheela (1949 – current)

Ma Anand Sheela in 1987. (Photo by Reto Hügin/RDB/ullstein bild/Getty Images)

Written by Adie Vanessa Offiong

Ma Anand Sheela was comparatively unknown to many past India and the US, previous to the release of the 2018 six-half Netflix documentary, Wild Wild Country.
The piece, confirmed her as the fearless proper hand and private secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also referred to as Osho), founding father of the Rajneesh motion, which attracted devotees from around the world to its base in the Oregon desert. The motion is now largely recognized for a series of felony actions it carried out, together with considered one of America’s largest immigration frauds and the largest bioterror assault in the nation, orchestrated by Sheela. Despite this, she nonetheless maintains a following.
Born Sheela Ambalal Patel right into a rich Mumbai household in India, Ma Anand Sheela studied linguistics at Baroda University, India and Art at Montclair State College in New Jersey, the place she met her first husband, Marc Silverman. She married 3 times.

After University, Sheela was launched to Rajneesh by her father, who noticed him as a non secular instructor, and he or she is alleged to have been immediately dedicated to him.

She is now described as the mastermind behind Rajneesh’s dealings and admits to Australia’s 60 Minutes to being the one with the capability to place his “desires and imaginative and prescient” into observe.

In 1984, Sheela orchestrated a large-scale bioterror assault, contaminating the salad bars at ten eating places in Oregon in hope of rendering individuals unable to vote and assist sway a county election in favour of the cult’s personal candidates. The assault, sickened 751 individuals and put 45 in hospital.

In 1986, she was charged with immigration fraud, tried homicide, wiretapping and conspiracy to tamper with client merchandise. She pleaded responsible and was sentenced to twenty years in jail, in accordance with a Swiss Information Update report. She was released for good conduct after 39 months, paid a $470,000 high quality and was deported, in accordance with an Associated Press report.
She at the moment lives in Switzerland the place she runs two residential properties for individuals with psychological sicknesses.

Deep dive: Abortion

A view of the U.S.Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

This week, in an unprecedented leak, news broke that the US Supreme Court might overturn the nation’s 50-yr-previous ruling that legalized abortion in the nation. Here are some tales that present context on what’s been occurring in the US and elsewhere in the world when it involves abortion.

“No girl can name herself free who doesn’t management her personal physique.”

Margaret Sanger, American contraception activist, intercourse educator, and nurse

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