Xianzi sounds exhausted. “Sorry. I’ve been crying the last half hour,” she tells the BBC over the phone from Beijing.
It is the day after a court ruled on the Chinese activist’s landmark sexual harassment case against one of the country’s biggest celebrities, which has made her the face of China’s fledgling #MeToo movement.
But three years on, her journey has hit a dead end. The court threw out her case saying there was insufficient evidence.
Before our call, Xianzi had tried to contact a supporter through Weibo, the Twitter-like social media platform on which the 28-year-old has built a closely-knit following. But she’d been fully blocked on Weibo following the court hearing, and so was her supporter, apparently because she was publicly advocating for Xianzi.
The realisation that she was now cut off from her online community had reduced Xianzi to tears.
“People’s accounts are constantly getting suspended. There is no way for me to contact them. I’ve lost the chance to say thanks to them. The past three years have been all about Chinese feminists being separated from each other.”