In a unique development, the blockchain technology has enabled student supporters of the #metoo movement in China to circumvent the ban on digital currency activities imposed by the Chinese authorities.
The #metoo movement is a global phenomenon whereby women have come out with their stories of sexual harassment whether it be in school, college, workplace or home. It has assumed particular significance after American celebrities came out openly about the experiences that they had had in the movie industry.
What happened in China?
Yue Xin, a student of Peking University in Beijing, wanted to expose an instance of a sexual assault situation involving a student and a professor from two decades ago. This incident had happened long before Yue joined the university. A then-student of the university, Gao Yan, had told her friends and family that a university professor, Shen Yang had raped her. Gao had committed suicide after that. Yue had wanted to write a letter detailing the incident.
Not only was Yue’s requests for information regarding this incident was denied, but an instructor had also barged into her room in the dormitory at midnight and demanded that she remove any data on the rape.
However, the letter was stored on a memo accompanying an Ethereum transaction. An unknown user had sent themselves Ethereum worth zero dollars for a transaction price of 47 cents.
Chinese students fight back.
Yue had also shared an open letter that detailed how the top officials of the university had tried to silence her for disclosing the details of the rape. She wrote that she was bullied to erase any trace of the event and that she was also sent home shamefully. This had almost resulted in Yue’s mother taking her own life.
The letter penned by Yue caught the attention of the Chinese millennials via the top messaging platforms of China called WeChat and Weibo. However, the screenshots were eventually blocked, and the messages were made to disappear.
However, the Chinese youth refused to give in to the intimidation tactics of the Chinese authorities. They put Yue’s memo on the impenetrable blockchain of Ethereum. The letter was published anonymously using an ether transaction that reportedly cost less than a dollar.
Isaac Mao, the person developing a blockchain-fueled media platform to fight censorship, said,
“It’s symbolic but won’t be easily adopted by the public masses. Decentralised media still has miles to go. But it gives people new hope.”