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Zheng Churan, whose Twitter name is allisongrabbit, tweeted herself sending a letter to US president-elect Donald Trump. Photo: Twitter

Chinese activist warns Donald Trump in open letter on Twitter: ‘feminists are watching you’

Prominent feminist addresses US president-elect directly through his favourite social media tool in bid to show ‘we girls can fight back’

Donald Trump

A prominent Chinese feminist has sent an open letter to US president-elect Donald Trump, warning him of his “straight man cancer” – a Chinese term for misogynism – and saying he will one day have to answer for his lewd comments about women.

Zheng Churan, nicknamed “Big Rabbit”, was one of the “Feminist Five” – five women who were detained in Beijing last year on the eve of International Women’s Day for planning to distribute leaflets warning of sexual harassment on public transportation. They were released on bail after a month’s detention but remain under close surveillance.

“Sent letter to @realDonaldTrump, 10,899 Chinese vote 10 top ‘straight-man-cancer behaviors’”, Zheng wrote in a posting on her Twitter account Tuesday, with a photo of her holding a letter and a sign in front of a mailbox.

“Hey Trump, feminists are watching you,” the sign reads.

“The staff at the post office was a little shocked when they saw me fill in Trump’s name as the recipient of the letter,” said Zheng, who currently lives in Shenzhen.

She said she gave the address as Trump Tower.

People who look down on women will have to be responsible for the insulting and sexist comments they made one day
Zheng Churan, women’s rights activist

In a posting on messaging app Wechat, Zheng said she initiated a poll in November, surveying her 2,000 Wechat followers, who are mostly female, on their definitions of “straight man cancer”, a Chinese internet slang term that equals “male chauvinism”.

She received more than 10,000 replies in a month, after which she selected the top 10 actions seen to best define “straight man cancer” by respondents, from the 20 candidates she and other netizens had proposed earlier.

“I wanted to initiate the poll after reading the news that Harvard University had suspended its men’s soccer team for the remainder of the season because of lewd sexual comments made about members of the women’s soccer team,” Zheng said. “I wanted to let those little brats see how we girls can fight back.”

She then decided to send the poll results to Trump, who was shown making lewd comments and using vulgar terms to talk about women in a 2005 video and is often portrayed as a misogynist, to let him know “people who look down on women will have to be responsible for the insulting and sexist comments they made one day”.

“Although we are far away in China, we have seen the news reports of you being constantly involved in gender discrimination and thus we want to send you the poll results showing how a male chauvinist, or straight man cancer patient (sic), would look.” Zheng wrote in her letter to Trump. She posted the letter, written in Chinese and translated into English, in her WeChat post.

Five young vocal Chinese feminists, including Zheng, were arrested during an unprecedented crackdown on feminists in March last year, after they planned a protest across multiple cities aimed at bringing an end to sexual harassment on public transport.

The late Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong praised women as holding up “half the sky” and played an important part in the communist rise to power. In the early years of the People’s Republic of China, women’s rights saw huge advances.

However, gender discrimination still exists in China and starts even before birth. The Chinese mainland recorded the world’s most imbalanced sex ratio at birth for the second consecutive year, and slipped in its ranking for overall gender equality, a study by the World Economic Forum this year shows.

In terms of gender equality, the nation ranked 99 out of 144 countries, down from 91 last year, the report said. A wide gap also exists in the education levels of men and women on the mainland. China ranked 119th in terms of secondary school attainment, behind countries that include Singapore, South Korea and Ghana.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: We’re watching you, feminist warns US president-elect