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China Detains Feminist Activists Ahead of International Women's Day: Lawyer

At least five feminist activists in China were detained in the run-up to International Women’s Day, one of their lawyers told NBC News.
Chinese paramilitary policemen march past a portrait of Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Monday, March 9, 2015. Thousands of delegates from across the country are in the Chinese capital this week to attend the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)Ng Han Guan / AP

BEIJING — At least five Chinese feminist activists were detained in the run-up to International Women’s Day and are still being held, one of their lawyers said Monday. Lawyer Wang Qiushi told NBC News that the women were arrested on Friday night.

"Their families are all supporting what they are doing. Seeking gender equality is very meaningful," Wang said. "Personally, I am shocked by their detention." Security in Beijing has been increased over the past week while China’s legislature holds its annual session, and Wang suggested the feminists' arrests could be related.

Still, "even during the conference time, what the police did is too much," said Wang, who represents Wei Tingting. Wang named the others arrested as Li Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan, and Wu Rongrong and said prison officials had confirmed to him they were holding Li.

Wang said he was unclear about the allegations against the women because he had not been able to contact his client. Chinese activist Feng Yuan told The Associated Press the women planned to observe International Women’s Day by putting up leaflets about sexual harassment. NBC News reached out to police and prison officials in Beijing but was unable to confirm the status of the women.


- Eric Baculinao

The Associated Press and NBC News researcher Zhou Chaojie contributed to this report.