First anniversary of the chained woman incident: complete inaction from Chinese Government


The “chained woman” case in Xuzhou’s Fengxian County is exactly one year old since it broke out last year in Jan. 27. Chinese public has not forgotten the chained woman, whose identity still remains a mystery, and netizens are still trying to keep the chained woman in people’s memory by following up on the efforts of the past year.

Within the tightly clamped firewall of China’s Internet, numerous posts with the keyword “chained woman” have been appearing in the social media in the past few days. In the early morning of Jan. 28, an account named “biscuitspring” re-posted the WeChat article “Commemorating the First Anniversary of the Chained Woman Incident – Civilian Report” on Weibo. However the said post was immediately blocked by the authorities.

On the day before the first anniversary of the incident, a Twitter handle “Heaven and Earth” posted, “It’s 8:00 am on January 27, 2023, and in 16 hours, the ‘Chain Woman’ incident that shocked all of humanity will be revealed. 16 hours from now, it will be exactly one year since the ‘chained woman’ incident came to light!” What follows are eight consecutive clauses and ten question marks, “Where is the chained woman now? What is her status? Who is she? When will the truth about the case be released? When will justice be served? How will she be compensated for the abuse and persecution she suffered, and for her lost youth? Are all those who have been suppressed and retaliated against this year because of their concern for the chained woman, are they safe? How can they be compensated?”

Zhao Lanjian, a former Chinese media person who made efforts to bring out the real identity of the chained woman, said during an interview that Chinse people could not forget the incident, “I know that the emotion they have for the chained woman is still hard to let go of, still nostalgic. “. He mentioned that the image of the chained woman has become imprinted on the minds of the Chinese people similar to the images of the “Tank Man” and “This is my responsibility” during the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement in 1989 and hence it would be difficult for the people to let it go without a closure.

After the incident broke out, Zhao Lanjian went deep into Yunnan, the hometown of “Xiaohuamei”, the identity of the chained woman announced by the government, and interviewed the uncle of “Xiaohuamei”, questioning the identity announced by the government. But this move also brought bad luck to Zhao Lanjian himself.

After the video of Zhao Lanjian’s interview with Xiaohuamei’s uncle was released, the Chinese police repeatedly approached him from April last year and coerced him into not continuing to disseminate information about the chained woman’s investigation. Out of fear of persecution by the police, Zhao Lanjian secretly left Beijing to United States in late July. Speaking of this experience, Zhao Lanjian laughs and calls it an “escape.

But while people are trying to keep the chained woman incident from being drowned out by the flood of information in this era, the village of Dongji, Huankou Town, Feng County, Jiangsu Province, where the incident took place, has maintained a long silence. They have been under tremendous pressure from the authorities to not to speak with outsiders. They have been threatened with strong consequences.

When a villager from Dongji village was contacted for an interview soon after the chain woman incident broke out, and when village was not yet closed at that time, he flatly declined the interview for security reasons. A year later, he was contacted again and the response was still that he was not available for an interview. Li Zhuang, a well-known Chinese lawyer, visited Dongji village two weeks ago and was not even able to enter the village, which was sealed off by the local government. When the Feng County government duty office was called at noon on the day of January 27, and the person on duty informed the caller to approach the county party propaganda department for details. When tried to connect to the propaganda department, no one answered.

After a year of no real progress in the case of the chained woman, the immediate feeling of Yang Yunjuan, a young woman in Beijing, is one of anger. She mentioned, “The way this case is being handled is completely in the mindset of maintaining stability, because it is natural and legitimate to oppose the sale of women, so they are blocking field investigations by setting up roadblocks and arresting and intercepting professional journalists and citizen journalists and volunteers.”

She had been in contact with an online group that supports requests for government information disclosure at all levels in Jiangsu province regarding this incident. But she learned that the people in this group were later subjected to a form of soft intimidation, “that is, instead of contacting them directly, they went through their units and schools to convince them to withdraw their requests, and as far as I know, they even went to great lengths to contact the unit leaders, colleagues and school administrators of these people and used either intimidation or persuasion to get people to withdraw. “

Yang Yunjuan said people must remember this incident, “that is to remember all the absurdities in this incident, including the government’s dereliction of duty and the shameless behavior of suppressing journalists and volunteers. To realize that the Chinese government cannot protest its citizens especially women. At least many people will question and distrust this kind of government.”

Chinese people are more pessimistic about any future action by government against the perpetrators of this inhuman activity. Especially after the white paper protest, Chinese government doesn’t want to take any chance and would suppress all dissenting voices, which raises questions against the actions of the government, with heavy hand. (Reported by Wang Yun)

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