Postcard

08.28.19

Thwarted at Home, Can China’s Feminists Rebuild a Movement Abroad?

Shen Lu & Mengwen Cao
A small number of China’s feminist movement’s influential thinkers and organizers have relocated overseas, in search of an environment more hospitable to their activism. Today, though their numbers are relatively small, they have succeeded in...

Depth of Field

07.01.19

The Journey of a Bra

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Many of the photo stories in this edition of Depth of Field cover issues relating to women and gender, including a piece on women from Madagascar married to men in rural Zhejiang province, artistic photo collaborations with women and men who have...

Viewpoint

04.19.19

‘I Have Revised My Idea of What a Uighur Heroine Should Be’

Zubayra Shamseden
The Chinese government would have you believe a good Uighur woman is one who knows how to apply false eyelashes and cook dumplings. She is neither too modest nor too forward. She is “good at singing and dancing.” Since leaving China, I have spent a...

Viewpoint

03.28.19

Finding a Voice

Lü Pin from Logic
When I started writing this article, Feminist Voices had been deleted for six months and ten days. Yes, I have been keeping track of the time: ten days, fifteen days, thirty days, sixty days, three months, six months. . . The first week after it...

Chinese Spiritual Leader Is Accused of Harassing Female Followers

Javier Hernandez
New York Times
In a 95-page document that circulated widely on social media this week, two male monks accused the Venerable Xuecheng, the abbot of Longquan Monastery in Beijing and a powerful religious official, of sending explicit messages and making unwanted...

An American Lean-In Guru in China

John Corrigan
Wall Street Journal
Joy Chen got a glimpse of the limelight as a Los Angeles deputy mayor two decades ago, but it was nothing like the fame she has found in China urging women to forget what they’ve been taught about matrimony.

In China’s Booming Tech Scene, Women Battle Sexism and Conservative Values

Cate Cadell, Adam Jourdan
Reuters
Ms Li has a day job in the marketing department of one of China’s biggest tech firms.

Conversation

03.20.18

What Is the Significance of China’s #MeToo Movement?

Aaron Halegua, Kevin Lin & more
As the #MeToo movement has swept America, it has also made waves in greater China. On the mainland, the most widely publicized incident involved Luo Xixi’s allegation in a January 2018 Weibo post that her professor at Beihang University, Chen Xiaowu...

China Just Got One Step Closer to Ending Its Family-Planning Policies

Echo Huang
Quartz
Over the years few things have symbolized China’s heavy-handedness quite like the one-child policy it implemented in 1979. But in a sign of change, this week Beijing announced the end of the commission charged with implementing such policies.

Books

02.07.18

Leftover in China

Roseann Lake
Editor’s note: After we originally posted this video interview about Leftover in China, questions were brought to our attention about the book. We took the video down while we reviewed these concerns, and we determined that the interview is suitable to run on our book video platform.W. W. Norton & Company: Factory Girls meets The Vagina Monologues in this fascinating narrative on China’s single women—and why they could be the source of its economic future.Forty years ago, China enacted the one-child policy, only recently relaxed. Among many other unintended consequences, it resulted in both an enormous gender imbalance—with predictions of over 20 million more men than women of marriage age by 2020—and China’s first generations of only-daughters. Given the resources normally reserved for boys, these girls were pushed to study, excel in college, and succeed in careers, as if they were sons.Now living in an economic powerhouse, enough of these women have decided to postpone marriage, or not marry at all, spawning a label: “leftovers.” Unprecedentedly well-educated and goal-oriented, they struggle to find partners in a society where gender roles have not evolved as vigorously as society itself, and where new professional opportunities have made women less willing to compromise their careers or concede to marriage for the sake of being wed. Further complicating their search for a mate, the vast majority of China’s single men reside in and are tied to the rural areas where they were raised. This makes them geographically, economically, and educationally incompatible with city-dwelling “leftovers,” who also face difficulty in partnering with urban men, given urban men’s general preference for more dutiful, domesticated wives.Part critique of China’s paternalistic ideals, part playful portrait of the romantic travails of China’s trailblazing women and their well-meaning parents who are anxious to see their daughters snuggled into traditional wedlock, Leftover in China focuses on the lives of four individual women against a backdrop of colorful anecdotes, hundreds of interviews, and rigorous historical and demographic research to show how these “leftovers” are the linchpin to China’s future.{chop}

‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not so Fast, Say the Censors.

Javier C. Hernández and Zoe Mou
New York Times
They call themselves “silence breakers,” circulate petitions demanding investigations into sexual harassment and share internet memes like clenched fists with painted nails.

China’s Women Break Silence on Harassment as #MeToo Becomes #WoYeShi

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Beijing’s strict social control mean few have risked speaking out about misogyny but campaigners are beginning to make their voices heard.

Features

12.20.17

Pickup Artists with Chinese Characteristics

Robert Foyle Hunwick & Wu Hao
“If you don’t teach her a lesson, someone else will,” Fei explained during his two-hour “Sexual Assertiveness” session, concluding a week-long tutorial offered by Puamap, a team of “professional” seduction artists, marketers, and makeover men. One...

Books

11.30.17

Finding Women in the State

Wang Zheng
Finding Women in the State is a provocative hidden history of socialist state feminists maneuvering behind the scenes at the core of the Chinese Communist Party. These women worked to advance gender and class equality in the early People’s Republic and fought to transform sexist norms and practices, all while facing fierce opposition from a male-dominated Chinese Communist Party leadership, from the local level to the central level. Wang Zheng extends this investigation to the cultural realm, showing how feminists within China’s film industry were working to actively create new cinematic heroines, and how they continued a New Culture anti-patriarchy heritage in socialist film production. This book illuminates not only the different visions of revolutionary transformation but also the dense entanglements among those in the top echelon of the Party. Wang discusses the causes for failure of China’s socialist revolution and raises fundamental questions about male dominance in social movements that aim to pursue social justice and equality. This is the first book engendering the People’s Republic of China high politics and has important theoretical and methodological implications for scholars and students working in gender studies as well as China studies. —University of California Press{chop}

China Leads the March of Women Learning Business

Emily Feng
Financial Times
In her early 20s Cindy Mi preferred long pencil skirts and severe blazers. She was managing her family education business and she projected authority by dressing conservatively.

The Chinese Female Gamers Putting Male Players in the Shade

Danny Vinceny
BBC
In the world’s newest superpower, professional video gaming is a booming industry set to be worth billions. Female players struggle to earn as much as their male competitors – but that's not stopping one talented team of young women...

Caixin Media

03.27.17

Expert Doubts Incentives Would Boost China’s Birth Rate

Proposed incentives for couples to have a second baby—including tax breaks and extra maternity leave—won’t lead to a significant spike in China’s birth rate, a renowned demographer said.Liang Zhongtang’s comments come amid growing concerns about the...

No Country Comes Even Close to China in Self-Made Female Billionaires

Echo Huang
Quartz
China is home to more self-made female billionaires than any other nation, according to Hurun Report.

Media

01.28.17

China’s Feminists Go to Washington

Kim Wall
Zhang Ling was dressed like a revolutionary from the Spanish Civil War. With a long braid emerging from a scarlet beret and clad in trousers a color she described as “communist red,” Zhang had driven her Honda from her home in upstate New York the...

Researchers May Have ‘Found’ Many of China’s 30 Million Missing Girls

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
A new study proposes the births of many of the 'missing' girls were simply not registered...

Hong Kong’s Rebellious Lawmaker Yau Wai-ching

Helier Cheung
BBC
The youngest woman elected to Hong Kong's parliament has been called many things, including: "radical", "goddess", "spy", "pretty" and "cancer cell"...

Author’s Vision of a Future Beijing Looks to China’s Present

Karoline Kan and Javier Hernandez
New York Times
Meet Hao Jingfang, author of "Folding Beijing,” the science-fiction novelette that beat out Stephen King to win a Hugo Award. ...

With Fertility Rate in China Low, Some Press to Legalize Births Outside Marriage

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Underlying the debate over reproductive rights is China’s low fertility rate of 1.05 children per woman, revealed in the mini-census last year

China Mourns First Female J-10 Pilot After Death in Training

BBC
China is mourning the death of Yu Xu, the country's first female J-10 jet pilot who was killed during an aerobatic training session on Saturday...

For Chinese Women, a Surname is Her Name

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
Keeping a surname is not an expression of marital equality, but of powerful patriarchal values. A married woman continued to be identified by her father’s lineage.

China Mayor Probed After ‘Minority Women Use Witchcraft to Ensnare Men’ Comments

Neil Connor
Telegraph
A top official apparently veered from a seemingly positive agenda to highlight concerns about the minority, which is known in China for being superstitious

China’s Forbidden Babies Still an Issue

John Sudworth
BBC
The One Child Policy may be gone, but the control and coercion remain

Delia Davin Obituary

John Gittings
Guardian
A pioneer of Chinese women’s studies who avoided the stereotypes offered by the communist regime and its critics

China’s Marriage Rate is Plummeting Because More Women are Choosing Autonomy over Intimacy

Xuan Li
Quartz
One of the greatest fears of Chinese parents is coming true: China’s young people are turning away from marriage. The trend is also worrying the government

China’s Maternal Mortality Rate Rises 30% in First Half

Li Rongde and Liu Jiaying
Increase in women older than 35 getting pregnant after easing of the One-Child Policy may have led to spike in deaths

Media

04.15.16

A ‘Lost’ Daughter Speaks, and All of China Listens

A woman in her mid-40s cradled a scrap of blue cloth checkered with red. “Have you seen this before?” she asked. “Do you recognize this pattern?”I held it up to the light and noticed the cotton edges had frayed and tattered over years. “We already...

Books

12.16.15

One Child

Mei Fong
When Communist Party leaders adopted the one-child policy in 1980, they hoped curbing birth-rates would help lift China’s poorest and increase the country’s global stature. But at what cost? Now, as China closes the book on the policy after more than three decades, it faces a population grown too old and too male, with a vastly diminished supply of young workers.Mei Fong has spent years documenting the policy’s repercussions on every sector of Chinese society. In One Child, she explores its true human impact, traveling across China to meet the people who live with its consequences. Their stories reveal a dystopian reality: unauthorized second children ignored by the state, only-children supporting aging parents and grandparents on their own, villages teeming with ineligible bachelors, and an ungoverned adoption market stretching across the globe. Fong tackles questions that have major implications for China’s future: whether its “Little Emperor” cohort will make for an entitled or risk-averse generation; how China will manage to support itself when one in every four people is over sixty-five years old; and above all, how much the one-child policy may end up hindering China’s growth.Weaving in Fong’s reflections on striving to become a mother herself, One Child offers a nuanced and candid report from the extremes of family planning. —Houghton Mifflin Harcourt{chop}

China Tired of the Boiler Suit

Lena Jeger
Guardian
“Why can people who glory in color and fun and variety wear a uniform of boiler suits that brings drabness and dreariness to every gathering?”

China Court: Rape Risk Higher for Women With ‘Bad Habits’ Like Smoking, Drinking

Xu Yangjingjing and Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Women who smoke, drink and dress provocatively are more likely to be raped.

‘Kingdom of Daughters’ in China Draws Tourists to Its Matrilineal Society

AMY QIN
New York Times
It was morning in the lakeside village of Luoshui here in southwestern China.

China’s Other Women

Hannah Beech
Time
Under Mao, China promoted socialist equality for women, but the market-reform era has left many commodified in a country where mistress can be a career choice.

Media

10.07.15

An International Victory, Forged in China’s Tumultuous Past

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On October 5, a share of this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine went to 84-year-old Chinese pharmacologist Tu Youyou for her discovery, decades ago, of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin. Tu and her team made the discovery during the Cultural...

Youyou Tu: How Mao’s Challenge to Malaria Pioneer Led to Nobel Prize

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Tasked in 1969 with finding a cure for malaria, China’s first laureate in medicine looked to nature and traditional medicine.

China Says Investigating U.S. Woman Suspected of Spying

Megha Rajagopalan
Reuters
An American woman suspected of spying is being investigated.

Media

07.21.15

China: The Best and the Worst Place to Be a Muslim Woman

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A woman’s solitary voice, earthy and low, rises above the seated worshipers. More than 100 women stand, bow, and touch their foreheads to the floor as a female imam leads evening prayers at a women-only mosque during the first week of Islam’s holy...

Media

06.26.15

A Chinese Feminist, Made in America

Nancy Tang
In August 2010, two weeks after turning 18, I traveled about 6,700 miles from Beijing, China to attend Amherst, a liberal-arts college in Massachusetts in the northeastern United States. I packed a copy of Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw’s...

The Village and the Girl

Carrie Gracie
BBC
The destruction of rural China became for pig farmer Xiao Zhang a liberation and an opportunity.

Media

04.15.15

Online Support–and Mockery–Await Chinese Feminists After Release

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On April 13, Chinese authorities released on bail five feminist activists detained for over a month without formal charges. Despite tight censorship surrounding their detention, support on Chinese social media and thinly veiled media criticism...

Sinica Podcast

03.30.15

Comfort Women and the Struggle for Reparations

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Kaiser talks with Lucy Hornby, China correspondent for the Financial Times and author of a recent piece on China’s last surviving Chinese comfort women and their longstanding and often futile attempt to seek reparations in both China and Japan.Also...

Conversation

03.18.15

Dark Days for Women in China?

Rebecca E. Karl, Leta Hong Fincher & more
With China’s recent criminal detention of five feminist activists, gender inequality in China is back in the spotlight. What does a crackdown on Chinese women fighting for equal representation say about the current state of the nation’s political...

Excerpts

03.16.15

The Education of Detained Chinese Feminist Li Tingting

Eric Fish
It is probably fair to say no woman has ever taken more flak for walking into a men’s room than Li Tingting. In the run-up to Women’s Day in 2012, the feminist college student was distressed by the one-to-one ratio of public restroom facilities for...

Media

03.10.15

China’s Good Girls Want Tattoos

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
“It seems that Chinese men don’t want to marry a girl with tattoos,” complained one such girl on the Chinese online discussion platform Douban. She posted a picture of her body art, an abstract design on her lower back. “In East Asian cultural...

Culture

02.20.15

‘Still Not Married?’ A Graphic Guide to Surviving Chinese New Year

Roseann Lake
Maya Hong is a Beijing transplant from a small town outside of Harbin, the icy city not far from China’s border with Siberia. Though proud of her glacial origins and skilled at combating subzero temperatures, over the years Hong, 30, has had to add...

Media

02.05.15

Why Chinese Promote Confining New Mothers for a Month

Rachel Lu
HONG KONG—Giving birth is never easy, but for new Chinese mothers the month following a baby’s arrival is particularly fraught. Immediately after I became pregnant for the first time, I started to hear about zuoyuezi, or “sitting the month.” It’s a...

Books

12.23.14

Top Five China Books of 2014

Laura Chang
As the editor of ChinaFile’s Books section, I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing some amazing writers covering China today—academics, journalists, scholars, activists. Based on these conversations, we create short videos of the...

Sinica Podcast

12.05.14

Domestic Abuse in China

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
It doesn’t take a lot of time in China to see household violence play out in supermarkets, in schools, or even in the streets. But exactly how common is domestic violence in China? In the face of recent evidence from Peking University that more than...

Books

07.31.14

Leftover Women

Leta Hong Fincher
A century ago, Chinese feminists fighting for the emancipation of women helped spark the Republican Revolution, which overthrew the Qing empire. After China's Communist revolution of 1949, Chairman Mao famously proclaimed that "women hold up half the sky." In the early years of the People's Republic, the Communist Party sought to transform gender relations with expansive initiatives such as assigning urban women jobs in the planned economy. Yet those gains are now being eroded in China's post-socialist era. Contrary to many claims made in the mainstream media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of many rights and gains relative to men.Leftover Women debunks the popular myth that women have fared well as a result of post-socialist China's economic reforms and breakneck growth. Laying out the structural discrimination against women in China will speak to broader problems with China's economy, politics, and development.—Zed Books {chop}

Books

06.25.14

Chinese Comfort Women

Peipei Qiu with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei
During the Asia-Pacific War, the Japanese military forced hundreds of thousands of women across Asia into "comfort stations" where they were repeatedly raped and tortured. Japanese imperial forces claimed they recruited women to join these stations in order to prevent the mass rape of local women and the spread of venereal disease among soldiers. In reality, these women were kidnapped and coerced into sexual slavery. Comfort stations institutionalized rape, and these "comfort women" were subjected to atrocities that have only recently become the subject of international debate.Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Japan's Imperial Sex Slaves features the personal narratives of twelve women forced into sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied their hometowns. Beginning with their prewar lives and continuing through their enslavement to their postwar struggles for justice, these interviews reveal that the prolonged suffering of the comfort station survivors was not contained to wartime atrocities but was rather a lifelong condition resulting from various social, political, and cultural factors. In addition, their stories bring to light several previously hidden aspects of the comfort women system: the ransoms the occupation army forced the victims' families to pay, the various types of improvised comfort stations set up by small military units throughout the battle zones and occupied regions, and the sheer scope of the military sexual slavery—much larger than previously assumed. The personal narratives of these survivors combined with the testimonies of witnesses, investigative reports, and local histories also reveal a correlation between the proliferation of the comfort stations and the progression of Japan's military offensive.The first English-language account of its kind, Chinese Comfort Women exposes the full extent of the injustices suffered by and the conditions that caused them. —Oxford University Press {chop}

Yang Lan, the ‘Oprah of China,’ Expands Her Reach

Lily Rothman
Time
Yang Lan is partnering with MAKERS to bring the women's-stories platform to China...

Media

06.18.14

Leaning In ... to Corruption

It's no secret that graft is an essential part of climbing the Chinese Communist Party ranks. Now, according to Chinese state media, ambitious female cadres are increasingly being caught taking bribes and trading favors. On June 16, the state-...

Sinica Podcast

06.16.14

The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by David Moser and Leta Hong Fincher, newly-minted Ph.D. and author of Leftover Women, a book which gazes into the state of women’s rights in China, and documents the way state-sanctioned propaganda...

Viewpoint

04.23.14

From Half the Sky to ‘Leftovers’

Mei Fong & Leta Hong Fincher
The three-plus decades since the inception of the ‘one child’ policy have resulted in a huge female shortage in China. The country is now seriously unbalanced, with 18 million more boys than girls. By 2020, there will be some 30 million surplus men...

Viewpoint

02.04.14

In Slickness and in Wealth

Leta Hong Fincher
Under the harsh glare of a studio spotlight, bride-to-be Tong turns her face until it is almost completely in shadow. Tong is posing for a three-day session of wedding photographs at Shanghai’s premier Princess Studio, where couples spend between 3,...