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[VIRTUAL] Free Speech Live!: Feminism and Free Expression in China

Forbidden City and paper cutouts of women holding hands with pink overlay; on top: “Free Speech Live! A biweekly virtual forum for students. Feminism and Free Expression in China”

An online forum hosted by PEN America’s Free Expression and Education program as part of our biweekly student-centered evening workshop series, Free Speech Live!

It is well-known that the censorship of information and news media is a major issue in China. But the ways in which these pressures affect feminist organizing and women in China generally are less understood and less discussed. What gaps exist in China for women specifically when it comes to free expression? How are those gaps amplified by socioeconomic status and the urban/rural divide? What does the future look like for feminism in China, and how can women and others around the world support them as allies?


Join PEN America for this interactive online forum featuring a brief presentation, discussion, and expert-facilitated Q&A session with Nicholas Perez, PEN America’s manager for free Expression and education, and Maggie Ruining Wang, vice president at the Overseas Students Services Corp, to discuss answers to these questions and more. High school and college alumni of PEN America’s Institutes and other students are welcome to join.

Special Guest

Maggie Ruining Wang headshotMaggie Ruining Wang is the vice president at Overseas Students Services Corp. She has a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. During her time in school, she was the president of Columbia University’s China Delegation and admission ambassador. She focuses on international education and globalization, as well as pushing for a more fair and impartial society. From 2012 to 2016, Wang held a position at New Oriental Education & Technology Group. In 2016, she founded an international education agency that had over 100 million RMB (~$15 million) in sales. Wang moved on in 2018 to a position at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she worked until taking on the vice president role at Overseas Students Services Corp in 2019.


Nicholas Perez headshotNicholas “Niko” Perez is the manager of free expression and education at PEN America. In this role, he advances PEN America’s efforts to catalyze a more informed, civic culture through free expression education for the rising generation and the general public, and supports advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. Perez co-directs the Free Speech Advocacy Institute and hosts Free Speech Live!, a biweekly series of youth-oriented discussions focusing on contemporary issues related to free speech, open exchange, human rights, and democracy. Perez previously worked for the Columbia University Human Rights Advocates Program and consulted for the Human Rights Education and Training section at the United Nations. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University in human rights and humanitarian policy and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in international politics. He also was a Global Leadership Fellow at Waseda University in Japan, a Model United Nations advisor at Mira Costa High School, and a forensics researcher for the Yahad-in Unum genocide research agency.

Student Leaders

Hajra Raheel headshot

Hajra Raheel is a senior at Karachi Grammar School in Karachi, Pakistan. She is an editor and writer at her school newspaper, cofounder of her school’s first journalism olympiad, vice president of her school’s literary society, and a global gold medallist in literature at the International Academic Marathon. She is a graduate of PEN America’s Summer Free Speech Advocacy Institute, and a Chuck Stone Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill. She is also a vocalist and on the council of her school’s performing arts society, and the manager of her school’s scientific research journal.

Sofia Williams headshotSofia Williams is a second-year student at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA. She is a member of her school’s honors orchestra, the news editor of her school paper, the editor-in-chief of her school’s literary magazine, and the co-president of the Youth Activism Club at her school. She is a graduate of PEN America’s Global Free Expression Advocacy Institute and Summer Free Speech Advocacy Institute, and a member of the news and workshop teams at Teens for Press Freedom. She is also a member of the Manhattan Beach Youth Council, a city-run organization composed of select student leaders within her town.

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