This year at Fudan University in Shanghai, there will not be any students talking loudly about female genitalia. Zhihe Society 知和社, an on-campus student organization committed to addressing gender issues, was forced to cancel its annual performance of the feminist play The Vagina Monologues (阴道独白 yīndào dúbái), which was set to take place on May 31.
Written by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 1994, The Vagina Monologues is a celebration of women’s rights, bodies, and sexual experiences.
In 2004, students at Fudan University performed the Chinese version of The Vagina Monologues for the first time on campus, making the school the first Chinese college to produce the play. In subsequent years, the student group constantly adapted the original play for the contemporary Chinese context, and the annual production has evolved into a well-received cultural event among college students in Shanghai.
In an announcement (in Chinese) released by the student group today, organizers of the show apologized for the cancellation, saying that they had faced some uncontrollable external forces.
While the statement doesn’t specify what difficulties they encountered, a Douban user close to the matter revealed (in Chinese) that the school initially denied the organizers’ application for an on-campus venue and ordered them not to promote the event publicly. On May 30, school officials told the student group to call off the performance, without giving any reason. The Douban user wrote, “This school doesn’t deserve these students.”