CeMEAS Conversations: Li Maizi

CeMEAS Conversations: Li Maizi

Voices of Struggle: LGBTQ and Feminist Activism in China and Beyond

We are honored to present Maizi Li as part of our CeMEAS Conversations. In our video she discusses the role of social media for queer/feminist activism in China, censorship and state control as well as the significance of China’s MeToo movement.


Our video series “Voices of Struggle: LGBTQ and Feminist Activism in China and Beyond” was filmed on the sidelines of a symposium of the same name held at the University of Göttingen on 17 April 2018. In our conversations with four of the participants (Hongwei Bao, Maizi Li, Popo Fan, Harriet Evans) we explore the complex entanglements between activism and academia in transnational perspective. What does it mean to be an engaged or activist scholar today? How should we think about the connections/separations between the two spheres of activism and academia? And how can activists and academics best combine their strengths to effect change? In what ways are deepening transnational connections re-shaping the practice of activism around the globe? Our two day event brought together leading scholars and activists to discuss these questions in relation to the development of feminism and LGBTQ activism in China and beyond.

Short Bio of Li Maizi:

Li Tingting李婷婷 (also known by her nickname Li “Maizi” 李麦子) is an activist for women’s and LGBTQ right in the PRC. Since 2012, she has become internationally known for organizing public performance art-style protests calling attention to gender equality issues. In 2012, she and two other activists walked down a shopping street in Beijing wearing a blood spattered gown to draw attention to domestic violence in China. Another action, the “Occupy Men’s Room” demonstration drew attention to the shortage of public women’s toilets by encouraging women to use men’s facilities.
On 6 March 2015 she, along with four other feminist activists, were arrested in Beijing for planning to hand out stickers on the Beijing subway raising awareness about sexual harassment on International Women’s Day. Thanks to the efforts of other Chinese feminists, “Free the Five” became an international campaign that made headlines around the world. She, along with the other members of the Feminist Five, were detained by the Public Security Bureau for 37 days.
Li previously studied public administration at Chang’An University (Xi’An) and is now studying human rights at the University of Essex in England where she continues her activist work.

CeMEAS Conversation Editors: Sarah Eaton & Katja Pessl