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Xiao Meili asked a man to stop smoking -- China's right wing went berserk

How a feminist activist incited a mob of misogynist netizens

Feminist activist Xiao Meili, 32, incurred the wrath of right-wing Chinese nationalists "just because I didn't want to inhale secondhand smoke."   © Reuters

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- It began as a night out with friends, and a polite request to stop smoking. It ended with death threats, lawsuits, and a life upended by China's social media rage machine.

On March 29, feminist and online retailer Xiao Meili took some friends visiting from out of town to a popular Chengdu restaurant known for "hot pot," the spicy soup in which diners cook a variety of meat and vegetables.

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