The Story of Cao Shunli

Cao Shunli (1961 – 2014) was a militant petitioner who died in police custody in March 2014. Petitioners in China, mostly women, bear the brunt of the country’s authoritarian capitalism. Deprived of jobs, houses or land, they are trapped at the bottom of the social hierarchy. When they appeal to authorities for help, they are instead subjected to torture and arbitrary detention. In the bid for legal justice and economic solutions, Cao believed petitioners should exercise their political rights. These drypoint prints attempt to reenact the moments when Cao fought consciously against her fate.