As the #MeToo movement spreads around the globe, women’s rights advocates are looking for cases to cheer, stories of women standing up to sexual harassment and assault and saying, “Enough is enough.” Chinese women who are doing just that are the focus of Betraying Big Brother, a deeply affecting book by the journalist and China specialist Leta Hong Fincher. The main characters in her tale are a small group of relatively well-off, college-educated young women in China’s major cities who connect with one another through social media. Coming of age in an era of economic progress and promise, these women had high hopes for their lives and careers. But their aspirations were dealt a blow by widespread sexism. Beginning in 2012, they dared to take to the streets to engage in performance art, including forming flash mobs, and then posted videos of their activities online to promote discussion and raise awareness about gender among the general public.
Based on interviews with these young women, including the group that came to be known as the Feminist Five, Hong Fincher describes a collective awakening in which they came to see their lives as “worth something,” a realization that led them to