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Yue Xin (activist)

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Yue Xin
Born1995 or 1996 (age 27–28)
Beijing, China
Disappeared23 August 2018
Huizhou, Guangdong, China
StatusMissing for 5 years, 10 months and 23 days
Alma materPeking University (BA)
Occupation(s)Student, activist
OrganizationJasic Workers Solidarity Group

Yue Xin (Chinese: 岳昕; born c. 1996) is a Chinese student activist and graduate from Peking University who disappeared on 23 August 2018,[1] following her participation in the Jasic labour dispute.[2] A Marxist and feminist, she was known for her advocacy of labour and women's rights prior to her disappearance.[3]

In April 2018, Yue led #MeToo-inspired protests against Peking University's attempted cover up of sexual assault allegations made against their staff.[4][5] Later that year, she joined striking workers at the Jasic Technology plant in Shenzhen and became a leading member of the Jasic Workers Solidarity Group.[6][7] Yue disappeared shortly afterwards and was last heard from in January 2019, when Guangdong police circulated a video of her confessing to various crimes and denouncing her own activism.[8][9]

BBC News described Yue as one of China's most influential left-wing activists of 2018.[2]

Early life[edit]

Yue Xin was born and raised in the city of Beijing and graduated from High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China in 2014. She then enrolled in Peking University's School of Foreign Languages [zh] and graduated in 2018.[2]

In an interview with Yazhou Zhoukan, Yue discussed much of her personal life, noting that she became interested in politics in middle school after reading Liu Yu's Details of Democracy. She described herself as a liberal during this period in her life, and upon reaching high school she became increasingly more interested in the living standards of workers and peasants. Yue also attributed her decision to become an activist to her witnessing of the 2013 Southern Weekly incident.[10]

Yue credits Chinese feminist activists Liu Yu and Xiao Meili as her primary influences.[10]


Posters at Peking University with messages supporting Yue Xin's activism (April 2018)

Yue was a student at Peking University, in the School of Foreign Languages class of 2014. During her senior year she participated in a series of protests against the university's handling of sexual assault allegations and failure to address predatory behaviour within the faculty and staff. The controversy centered around the university's culpability in the death of Gao Yan, a Peking University Chinese literature student who committed suicide in 1998, who was allegedly raped by Shen Yang, then a professor at Peking University.[11]

Yue issued a formal freedom of information request to the university on 9 April 2018, requesting information pertaining to Gao Yan's death and the allegations against Shen Yang. According to Yue, in an open letter to all students and staff of Peking University, the campus staff took immediate actions to attempt to coerce Yue to retract her freedom of information request.[4] She alleges that on 20 April 2018 a school advisor came unannounced to her dorm room with Yue's mother, who had been presented a distorted form of the events in order to persuade her daughter to rescind her request. According to Yue, Peking University failed to provide any relevant materials regarding the allegations against Shen Yang after claiming that the materials were either missing or out of their domain.[2][12]

Jasic labour dispute[edit]

On 8 August 2018, Yue joined the student labour activist organization Jasic Workers Solidarity Group in the protests in Huizhou, Guangdong at the Jasic Technology plant in Shenzhen. Workers at the plant were in a labour dispute with the plant's management, and subsequently the workers, citing poor labour conditions and low pay, attempted to form a labour union in violation of Chinese prohibition of non-state unions.[2] The province of Guangdong is noteworthy for being the principal example of the Guangdong model, the economic policy initiated by Chinese politician Wang Yang. This policy focused on economic liberalization, while ignoring issues with industry practices and social welfare.[13] The dispute led to numerous student activists, Yue among them, travelling to Huizhou to participate in protests against Jasic and the Chinese government's policies on labour rights.[14][15][16]


Yue was among fifty members and supporters of the Jasic Workers Solidarity group who were arrested by Chinese police on 23 August 2018.[17][18] Yue has not been seen in public since her arrest by Guangdong police.[1][19]

On 21 January 2019, the Jasic Workers Solidarity Group stated on their website that Yue and four other of its members had been forced by Guangdong police to record confessions admitting to "conducting illegal acts" and "being brainwashed by radical organizations". The National Security Department of the People's Republic of China then interviewed other members of the Jasic Workers Solidarity Group and asked them to watch the confession videos.[8]

Reactions to Yue's detainment[edit]

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek discussed the disappearance of Yue in an article published by The Independent. Zizek points out the inherent contradiction within Chinese society, wherein the official state ideology of Marxism is considered a dangerous form of political subversion.[20]

At least thirty academics, including linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky and Yale University Political Philosophy professor John Roemer announced their intention to boycott Chinese Marxist academic conferences, in reaction to the suppression of university activists who participated in the Jasic labour dispute. Chomsky wrote in a message to the Financial Times: "To continue to participate in ... officially sponsored Marxism-related events means we would stay complicit in the Chinese government's game. Leftist scholars around the world should join the boycott of such conferences and events."[21]

On 26 December 2018, the birthday of PRC founder Mao Zedong, Peking University student and head of the Peking University Marxist Society, Qiu Zhanxuan, was arrested by Chinese police.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Guo, Rui; Lau, Mimi. "Fears for young Marxist activist missing after police raid in China". South China Morning Post.
  2. ^ a b c d e 苒苒 (28 December 2018). "高压下崛起的中国左翼青年". BBC News 中文. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  3. ^ Wong, Sue-Lin. "Inspired by #MeToo, student activists target inequality in China". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b Hernández, Javier C.; Zhao, Iris (24 April 2018). "Students Defiant as Chinese University Warns #MeToo Activist". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Zhou, Weile. "#MeToo movement in China: Powerful yet fragile". www.aljazeera.com.
  6. ^ "Why Beijing isn't Marxist enough for China's radical millennials". South China Morning Post. 24 May 2018.
  7. ^ Blanchette, Jude D. (2019). China's New Red Guard: The Return of Radicalism and the Rebirth of Mao Zedong. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 392.
  8. ^ a b "佳士工人聲援團:岳昕等4成員被迫拍認罪影片". www.cna.com.tw (in Chinese). 21 January 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  9. ^ Shepherd, Christian (21 January 2019). "At a top Chinese university, activist 'confessions' strike fear into students". Reuters. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Interview with Yue Xin". www.yzzk.com. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  11. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (29 October 2018). "Cornell Cuts Ties With Chinese School After Crackdown on Students". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Kuo, Lily (24 April 2018). "Student says Peking University trying to silence her over rape claim petition". The Guardian.
  13. ^ "The Guangdong model". The Economist. 26 November 2011.
  14. ^ "The Chongqing vs. Guangdong models". www.workers.org.
  15. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (28 September 2018). "China's Leaders Confront an Unlikely Foe: Ardent Young Communists". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Zhe, Zhan Dou (14 November 2018). "Chinese authorities increase crackdown on workers and students". www.marxist.com.
  17. ^ Wang, Esther. "Young Chinese #MeToo and Labor Rights Activist Has Been Missing for Weeks After Being Detained by Police". Jezebel. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  18. ^ Kuo, Lily (24 August 2018). "50 student activists missing in China after police raid". The Guardian.
  19. ^ "深圳佳士工人维权发酵:多名声援团成员失联". BBC News 中文. 25 August 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  20. ^ Zizek, Slavoj (29 November 2018). "The mysterious case of disappearing Chinese Marxists shows what happens when state ideology goes badly wrong". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  21. ^ Yang, Yuan (27 November 2018). "Noam Chomsky joins academics boycotting China Marxism conferences". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Police nab Marxist leader on way to Mao Zedong anniversary bash". South China Morning Post. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Chinese Police Detain Marxist Student Leader on Mao's Birthday". Radio Free Asia.

External links[edit]