Books

11.06.13

The Birth of Chinese Feminism

Edited by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl, Dorothy Y. Ko
He-Yin Zhen (ca. 1884-ca.1920) was a theorist who figured centrally in the birth of Chinese feminism. Unlike her contemporaries, she was concerned less with China’s fate as a nation and more with the relationship among patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism, and gender subjugation as global historical problems. This volume, the first translation and study of He-Yin’s work in English, critically reconstructs early twentieth-century Chinese feminist thought in a transnational context by juxtaposing He-Yin Zhen’s writing against works by two better-known male interlocutors of her time.The editors begin with a detailed analysis of He-Yin Zhen’s life and thought. They then present annotated translations of six of her major essays, as well as two foundational tracts by her male contemporaries, Jin Tianhe (1874-1947) and Liang Qichao (1873–1929), to which He-Yin’s work responds and with which it engages. Jin, a poet and educator, and Liang, a philosopher and journalist, understood feminism as a paternalistic cause that liberals like themselves should defend. He-Yin presents an alternative conception that draws upon anarchism and other radical trends. Ahead of her time, He-Yin Zhen complicates conventional accounts of feminism and China’s history, offering original perspectives on sex, gender, labor, and power that remain relevant today.  —Columbia University Press{chop}

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Sinica Podcast

04.19.13

Do Not Marry Before Age Thirty

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
{vertical_photo_right}This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are delighted to be joined by Joy Chen, former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, and now high-profile author of the book Do Not Marry Before Age 30, a look at the state of gender issues in...

Viewpoint

03.19.13

For Many in China, the One Child Policy is Already Irrelevant

Leslie T. Chang
Before getting pregnant with her second child, Lu Qingmin went to the family-planning office to apply for a birth permit. Officials in her husband’s Hunan village where she was living turned her down, but she had the baby anyway. She may eventually...

The Mistress Industrial Complex

Christina Larson
Foreign Policy
Conjugal entanglements of power, politics, money, and men, usually involving multiple sex partners, are hardly new in China, but how this video came to light was novel: Zhu Ruifeng, a 31-year-old former investigative journalist at the respected...

Top 10 Myths About China in 2012

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
This year may prove to be a pivot point, when the myths that China and the world had adopted about the politics and economics of the People’s Republic began to erode. 

Women in China Leadership Fewer Than Under Mao

Michael Forsythe and Penny Peng
Bloomberg
The chart of the day shows the falling percentage of women in the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee, a group of about 200 members that includes all seven men on the nation’s top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing...

Chinese elite politics: It's still a man's world

Alexa Olesen
Associated Press
It's easier for a Chinese woman to orbit Earth than land a spot atop Chinese politics...

China's 'Leftover' Women

Leta Hong Fincher
New York Times
In 2007, the Women’s Federation defined “leftover” women (sheng nu) as unmarried women over the age of 27 and China’s Ministry of Education added the term to its official lexicon. Since then, the Women’s Federation Web site has run...

China’s Low Glass Ceiling Threatens Growth

Alexandra Harney
Bloomberg
A sea change is rippling through many Chinese factories. A workforce once dominated by women is now increasingly male. China’s one-child policy chips away daily at its competitive advantage in manufacturing for export, first by...

Video

09.18.12

Last Call to Prayer

Kathleen McLaughlin & Sharron Lovell
China’s Hui Muslims are unique in many respects. The country’s second-largest ethnic minority share linguistic and cultural ties with the majority in China that have allowed them to practice their religion with less interference and fewer...

TED Talk: The Voices of Chinese Workers

Leslie T. Chang
TEDTalks
n the ongoing debate about globalization, what's been missing is the voices of workers -- the millions of people who migrate to factories in China and other emerging countries to make goods sold all over the world. Reporter Leslie T. Chang...

China's Bridget Joneses

Sarah Keenlyside
Telegraph
In case you hadn’t noticed, Chinese women have become quite a force to be reckoned with in recent years. According to Forbes magazine, 11 of the 20 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese, and now 19 per cent of Chinese women in...

Netizens Agree China's Rape Law Must Be Reformed

David Wertime
How can a little girl be a “prostitute?” Many in China are asking this question after a set of government officials in Lueyang, Shaanxi province, were caught having sex with a minor but found guilty of the lesser crime of “patronizing an underage...

Sinica Podcast

06.01.12

All-Sinica Federation of Women

Mary Kay Magistad & Leta Hong Fincher from Sinica Podcast
Considering that this was the week Zhang Ziyi found her name dragged through the mud on the Bo Xilai scandal, there couldn’t be a more topical subject for Sinica than the double standards that are often applied to women in China, and the way Chinese...

Books

03.29.12

The Gender of Memory

Gail Hershatter
What can we learn about the Chinese revolution by placing a doubly marginalized group—rural women—at the center of the inquiry? In this book, Gail Hershatter explores changes in the lives of seventy-two elderly women in rural Shaanxi province during the revolutionary decades of the 1950s and 1960s. Interweaving these women’s life histories with insightful analysis, Hershatter shows how Party-state policy became local and personal, and how it affected women’s agricultural work, domestic routines, activism, marriage, childbirth, and parenting—even their notions of virtue and respectability. The women narrate their pasts from the vantage point of the present and highlight their enduring virtues, important achievements, and most deeply harbored grievances. In showing what memories can tell us about gender as an axis of power, difference, and collectivity in 1950s rural China and the present, Hershatter powerfully examines the nature of socialism and how gender figured in its creation. —University of California Press

Books

03.02.12

Cinderella’s Sisters

Dorothy Y. Ko
The history of footbinding is full of contradictions and unexpected turns. The practice originated in the dance culture of China’s medieval court and spread to gentry families, brothels, maid’s quarters, and peasant households. Conventional views of footbinding as patriarchal oppression often neglect its complex history and the incentives of the women involved. This revisionist history, elegantly written and meticulously researched, presents a fascinating new picture of the practice from its beginnings in the tenth century to its demise in the twentieth century. Neither condemning nor defending foot-binding, Dorothy Ko debunks many myths and misconceptions about its origins, development, and eventual end, exploring in the process the entanglements of male power and female desires during the practice's thousand-year history. Throughout her narrative, Ko deftly wields methods of social history, literary criticism, material culture studies, and the history of the body and fashion to illustrate how a practice that began as embodied lyricism—as a way to live as the poets imagined—ended up being an exercise in excess and folly. —University of California Press

Reports

08.01.11

Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls

Jad Chaaban and Wendy Cunningham
World Bank
This report discusses the economic impact of the exclusion of girls from productive employment in developing countries. The paper explores the linkages between investing in girls and potential increases in national income by examining three widely...

Reports

01.01.08

External Evaluation 2003–2007 - Safety and Effectiveness of Contraception in China

Barbara L.K. Pillsbury and William Winfrey
Luo Xiaoyuan
World Health Organization
HRP has a long history of successful collaboration in China. WHO is widely respected in that country, and HRP benefits from its prestige. Since 1979, HRP has helped establish and strengthen a network of research institutes and provided support to...

The Bottom of the Well

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Do Chinese women, as the Communist Party has held for decades, “hold up half the sky?” Or, like the frog at the bottom of a well in a famous Daoist legend, do they see only a little blue patch? Why is it that tens of millions of them are said to be...