On Wednesday 3rd of May a protest began in Beijing about the alleged suicide of a woman called Yuan Liya, aged 22, from Anhui Province. She was found dead after falling off the building and many believe that the young woman had been raped by seven security guards and hence committed suicide. This whole episode led to the protesting of about 200 people initially and then thousands on the streets who believed the woman had been raped and her death hadn’t been investigated enough before the body was cremated without the family’s consent.
As expected the protest resulted in a forceful intervention of thousands of authorities that ensured that the protesters didn’t reach Tiananmen Square. Furthermore the protest had little or no coverage in the news and a woman who posted on Sina Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like microblog service, was arrested. It is interesting that even though most of the contents related to this story were eliminated from the web, the words “Anhui Girl” were one of the ten most researched signifying that there was significant interest in finding out more about the whole episode. Also it is obvious that many people have tried to post pictures of the protest online, in an attempt to win over censorship and spread the voice. This is particularly interesting, as there seems to be a trend in attempts to avoid the limitations of the web and create awareness about the flaws of justice and the corruption of the authorities.
Certainly, as more and more Chinese seem to find a way around censorship and seem to be keen on making their voice heard and fight for justice, the Government will have to work on accommodating the population’s needs and quests for democracy rather than relying merely on the violent repression of protests and keeping the web clean from any form of dissent.