A protest movement in China demanding that authorities increase the number of women’s toilets in public buildings has fallen foul of the censors, in another sign of Beijing’s skittishness ahead of a planned leadership transition later this year.
protest movement: 抗议活动
fall foul of: 与…冲突；与…相撞
The key words of the protest – Occupy Men’s Toilets – were blocked on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, on the mainland late on Monday night, while information on the group’s next planned protest in Henan has been deleted by China’s omnipresent internet police.
A couple of dozen women staged a protest in Beijing on Sunday, occupying men’s public toilets in the city’s downtown Deshengmen area. The protesters demanded that twice as many toilets be built for women than men, after a similar protest in Guangzhou pushed the authorities to pledge to increase the ratio of women’s toilets to men’s.
Li Maizi, the pseudonym of the 23-year-old woman who decided to organise the protests after being stuck in a very long queue at a conference in Guangzhou, said that the Beijing event had been well attended by local media. The city’s media, however, did not publish articles on the event.
“The event itself is not politically sensitive. I have no idea what is going on,” said Ms Li, adding that she and other members of the Occupy Men’s Toilets movement were relying on calling and text messaging people to inform them about the Henan protest and were planning additional protests in the cities of Xi’an and Wuhan.
The protest at the men’s lavatories at a park in Guangzhou on February 19 was a success. Authorities in the relatively liberal southern Chinese provincial capital, a couple of hours by train from Hong Kong, have promised to increase the ratio of women’s to men’s toilets from 1:1 to 1:1.5. The movement was even praised by People’s Daily, the national government-run newspaper, on February 23.