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International Olympic Committee Should Help Secure Peng Shuai’s Safety

“We have taken a very human and person-centred approach to her situation,” the International Olympics Committee (IOC) said in a December 2 statement, revealing it had held a second closed call with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Meanwhile, Peng has…
Two men speak to each other while seated
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New Guidelines Raise Alarms for Reproductive Rights

The State Council, China’s cabinet, in its “Chinese Women’s Development Guidelines” for 2021-2030, announced today, identified “reducing non-medically necessary abortions” as a step toward women’s development. It’s unclear what specific policies…
A promotion for China's defunct one-child policy remains on the outer wall of a government office in Bobai, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, August 26, 2021.
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Loujain al-Hathloul, Nouf Abdelaziz Risk Return to Prison if They Speak Out

Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from prison earlier this week after spending 1,001 days in detention, a testament to the tireless campaign of her family and human rights activists around the globe since her arrest…
Loujain al-Hathloul
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HRW G20 Campaign Calls for Release of All Human Rights Defenders

For more than two years, Saudi Arabia has locked up women’s rights activists who fought for – and won – women’s right to drive. But as the country is gearing up to virtually host the G20 World Leaders’ Summit November 21-22, it looks like the Saudi…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
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World Body Should Reject Beijing’s False Narrative

The Chinese government is facing a barrage of bad press for its systemic abuses against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region. Journalists have been spotlighting links between forced labor in Xinjiang and global supply…
201712asia_china_xinjiang2 Police officers check the identity cards of a people as security forces keep watch in a street in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China on March 24, 2017.
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Migrant Workers Face Abuse and Exploitation

There are reports this week that Saudi authorities are seeking to abolish the notorious kafala (sponsorship) system in 2021. Under that system, some 10 million migrant workers’ legal status are tied to their employer—facilitating abuse and…
Trapped in Employer's home
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Until Activists Are Free, Talk of Reform Rings Hollow

Saudi Arabia will virtually host the Women20 Summit (W20) this week. During the event, over 80 women’s rights experts representing nonprofits, private companies, and academic institutions will discuss “realizing opportunities of the 21st century…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
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Adopt Real Solutions for ‘One Child Policy’ Problems

This week an economics professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University offered up a novel proposal to solve China’s very serious gender imbalance: polyandry – women having multiple husbands. It’s an interesting idea, but we don’t think polyandry would…
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Male Guardianship, Sexual Harassment Amongst Major Concerns

Over the past two weeks, Saudi women have taken to Twitter, using pseudonyms, to share their experiences with sexual harassment, the reasons behind their hesitance to report these abuses to the authorities, and demands for the abolition of…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
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China’s Gender Imbalance Having Devastating Regional Consequences

What do Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, and Vietnam have in common? The answer is tragic. There’s compelling evidence that all have become source countries for a brutal business –…
A young woman who was trafficked at age 17 by a friend’s mother who promised her a well-paid child care job and then sold her to a family in China as a “bride.” Once purchased, she was confined and subjected to sexual slavery, but managed to escape after
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Allegations of Sale of Women to China Echo Abuses Elsewhere

Pakistan’s government should be alarmed by recent reports of trafficking of women and girls to China. These allegations are disturbingly similar to the pattern of trafficking of “brides” to China from at least five other Asian countries…
201904asia_pakistan_women
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Australia Should Not Turn Its Back on Asylum Seekers

New reporting from Australia sheds light on the risks Saudi women face fleeing abuse, discrimination, or repression to seek safety in another country. According to ABC’s Four Corners, Australian authorities blocked entry to two Saudi…
Shelter
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Judge Denies Abused Woman Divorce, Citing ‘Traditional Values’

“In principle, in divorce cases, the first time one sues for divorce, it won’t be granted. [Marriage is] a traditional value,” said Judge Zhang Yanbin in the Chinese city of Chengdu, ruling against a woman’s petition for divorce. “We made the ruling to…
A woman wearing a protective mask makes her way on a heavily polluted day in Beijing, December 26, 2015.
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#MeToo Gains Momentum, But Little Public Confidence in Legal Remedies

Among the over 50 million court verdicts from 2010 to 2017 available publicly, only 34 focused on sexual harassment, according to a June study by the Beijing Yuanzhong Gender Development Center. Among those 34 cases, only two were…
A vendor sells #MeToo badges a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California U.S. November 12, 2017.
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Firms Pledge Stricter Reviews of Ads in Wake of Human Rights Watch Report

The response to the release this week of a major Human Rights Watch report on gender discrimination and sexual objectification in Chinese advertising has been surprisingly quick. Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, and Tencent appear to have deleted many of…
China ads
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Beijing Professor Suspended After Accusations of Sexual Harassment

On January 1, Luo Xixi, a Chinese scientist living in the United States, along with four other women, accused Chen Xiaowu, a professor at Beijing’s prestigious Beihang University, of sexually harassing them when they were his students. The…
A vendor sells #MeToo badges a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California U.S. November 12, 2017.
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Ineffective Anti-Discrimination Mechanisms Hinder Women’s Progress

“History has proved that women don’t belong in academia,” wrote Feng Gang, a prominent sociologist and professor at Zhejiang University, on his  Weibo social media account in October.“If a woman in her life time has fewer than two…
A woman reads a company flyer at an open air job fair for college graduates and the general public in the centre of Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China, February 6, 2017.
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Mid-July Deadline Passes Without Word on Guardianship System

Saudi women have lobbied for an end to systematic discrimination against them for many years – could this long wait be nearing an end? In April, King Salman issued an order stipulating that government agencies cannot deny…
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Beijing Urging Women to Quit Their Jobs, Focus on Family

On August 21, Chinese women’s rights activist Wu Rongrong went to a police station in Shanxi province to check on her application for a travel permit to Hong Kong, where she has been accepted to graduate school. Police denied her application because Wu—…
Poster hung in the Beijing marriage registration office.
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Interrogation of Woman Who Wore Skirt in Snapchat Video Sparks Anger

A woman named Khulood was interrogated yesterday in Riyadh and handed over for prosecution. Her transgression? Wearing “indecent” clothing. But the same night, Saudi authorities released her without charge. A brief Snapchat video…
Screengrab from Khulood's Snapchat story.