China’s Educated Women Work to Bring about Change from Within

March 12, 2012

“You must matter,” she tells the girls that are her students. “You must be independent.”

The teacher wants her students to know the alternatives so they have choices. She says, “You don’t change overnight. It takes time. The ideas have to sink in.” This also applies to a country where less than a century ago women were the property of men and their feet were broken as children and bound to restrict growth.

The students are schoolteachers from China’s rural areas. They have come to Beijing for workplace training and to learn more about themselves.

Moreover, this is happening in Communist China and most Western critics have no idea this is going on.

The rural teachers in this program study the Chinese Constitution to learn about their rights and responsibilities.

After all, men and women are equal under the law in China, but there is a long way to go to change the old habits and ways of thinking to achieve all that equality offers.

As in the US, women in China are not paid the same as men for the same jobs.

One of the schoolteachers from rural China said, “You come to believe that you are not as good as men. But I hope when I return to my town that I will have the strength to stand up for myself.”

In October 2011, Chen Zhili, vice-chairperson of the National Congress Standing Committee and president of the All-China Women’s Federation, joined representatives from eleven other Asian and African countries and regions at a conference in Seoul, South Korea.  In her speech at the conference, she “emphasized the four concepts of education as a fundamental right; of education as a means to achieving gender equality and empowering women; of the health and social benefits to be gained from investing in women and girls’ education; and of the responsibility all state governments and international society bear in promoting gender equality.” Source: Women of China

In addition, “Data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics shows that women in China ages 18 to 64 have had an average of 8.8 years of education compared to 9.1 years for men. The gender gap in average years of education has decreased from 1.5 years in 2000 to 0.3 years in 2010.” Source WIA Report – Tracking the Progress of Women in Academia

worth watching if you have the time – a PBS 2007 documentary running almost one hour


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared November 8, 2010

Party Women

November 10, 2010

Starting with the I Ching, The Book of Changes, almost five thousand years ago, the central focus of Chinese philosophy has been how to live an ideal life and how best to organize society.

When the Communist Party of China gained power in 1949, previous schools of Chinese philosophy, except Legalism, were denounced as backward and purged during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

However, their influence on Chinese thought did not vanish since China’s Central Committee continues to plan and organize modernization and changes to China’s five thousand year old culture and society.

Most Chinese believe that true advancement and growth should only happen slowly, at a steady, measured pace, which means to grow but grow slow like a tree while following a well thought out plan to bring about the changes.

Even the United States doesn’t change quickly. 

In fact, it took almost ninety years to free the slaves, and women first sought the right to vote in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention.

Then seventy-two years later in 1920, American women finally earned the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted by Congress and was ratified by the states becoming a national law.

The last time women had relative freedom in China was in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty when Emperor Wu Zetian, a woman, ruled the country.

Since 1982, when China ratified its Constitution, women in China have gained more freedom, power and rights than at any other time in China’s history including the Tang Dynasty.

Anyone that does not consider this progress is stupid, blind and deaf.

Critics in the West might point out that under the Communists, no woman has ruled China, but I could say the same of the United States and many other countries.

Today, The most likely woman candidate for Politburo status — and a remote possibility for the Standing Committee — is Lin Yandong, a senior Party official responsible for winning over non-Communists.

In fact, Chinese women’s participation in politics has grown since 1982. There are now 230 or more women provincial and ministerial officials, 670 or more are mayor, which is twice the number of 1995.

“Chinese women leaders have much in common. They generally all have a good education background, being mainly science majors, and solid experience in government. They are of a caliber equal to that of their male counterparts,” an All-China Women’s Federation expert said.

If you hear anyone demanding quick changes in China, be cautions. Moving fast may result in tragedy.  I suggest that China continue to change steadily and slowly like an oak tree. 

Why do so many of China’s critics expect China to move faster than the US did? Is it because they want to see China fail?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Where the Communist Party finds New Recruits

October 4, 2010

“I think it’s worth remembering that China has parties other than the Chinese Communist Party (e.g. the CPWDP), although (of course) this does not make China a ‘multi-party state’ in the sense of the term. But observing how the CCP interacts with these other groupings can be revealing.” Source of comment from: Sino-Gist

My Response, There is also the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF).  I wrote about that at Women’s Rights in China.

Then there is the China Youth League and other representatives from various democratic parties, which must be referring to the CPWDP, and patriots and democrats without party affiliation; (c) representatives of people’s organizations; (d) representatives of the People’s Liberation Army; and (e) representatives of minority ethnic groups with a population of over 1 million each. Source:

Another segment of the population where the Party finds new members, are freshly minted millionaires and billionaires of China’s successful capitalists.

Many of these representatives may not belong to the Communist Party or have voting rights, but they do have a voice. 

Just as most Western corporate business is conducted on a golf course, in China these nonvoting members express themselves at meals and banquets in conversation with voting members.

These non-voting members are sort of like lower management in a corporation who take advantage to express their opinions and suggestions, which may be heeded by a voting member of the party.

Non-party members, who are of a like mind, will be noticed and possibly asked to join the party, which is an invitation few in China would reject since it means joining the ruling Party of more than 70 million.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

Women’s Rights in China

March 21, 2010

Dramatic changes in women’s rights have been achieved in a culture where for millennia women were stereotyped as inferior to men, had no rights and served as slaves, concubines and prostitutes. Marriages were arranged—sometimes at infancy.

In 1949, foot binding was abolished and the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed and supported by the Communist Party. Change in China, as in the United States, has been a painful evolutionary process. However, the struggle to gain equality appears to have moved faster than the United States where the women’s rights movement started in 1848 and still isn’t over.

10th National Women’s Congress in China

At the 10th National Women’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in 2008, Deputy-Chairwoman Huang Qingyi said, “Sex discrimination in employment should be eradicated and the income gap between men and women should be further narrowed.”

It was also been reported that domestic violence is a severe threat to women. Chinese authorities reported 50,000 complaints annually, according to figures released by the ACWF. The domestic violence fact sheet shows this is also a problem in the United States.

Sexual discrimination was supposed to have been abolished in China back in 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong famously announced, “women hold up half the sky”, but it wasn’t.  It has only been a few years since China outlawed sexual harassment.

Today, statistics show China has about 27,000 women and children’s rights protection agencies.

Discover Changing Times for Women’s Rights


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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