Amy Chua talks to China’s Tiger Women

March 13, 2012

Have you forgotten the infamous Tiger Mother? Last year, I wrote several posts that focused on her and even did battle on this Blog and on Amazon with what I considered obsessed, anal Americans that accused Chua of child abuse and other horrible acts predicting her two daughters would need therapy in the future.

Well, Amy Chua is back, because the paperback of her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was released recently.

In addition, she has interviewed four of China’s most successful women entrepreneurs for Newsweek’s March 12, 2012 edition, and the same piece appears on The Daily Beast.

The paperback for “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” was released recently.

The four extraordinary Chinese tiger women Chua interviewed for Newsweek and The Daily Beast were Zhang Xin (a factory worker turned real estate billionaire), Zhang Lan (China’s premier celebrity restaurateur), Peggy Yu Yu (the founder of Dangdang, a leading online retailer in China) and Yang Lan (talk show host and co-owner of Sun Television Cybernetworks).

Although Amy Chua covers a number of topics in the Newsweek/Daily Beast piece, there is one theme these Chinese tiger women mention — children and education.

Amy Chua says, “Zhang Xin is a rags-to-riches tale right out of Dickens… At 14, she left for Hong Kong with her mother, and for five years she worked in a factory by day, attending school at night.”

Xin told Chua, “My mother drove me in school so hard.”

It would appear that having a real Chinese tiger mother paid off, since Forbes lists Zhang Xin as one of the 50 most powerful women in the world today.

“As a mother”, Amy Chua says, “Zhang remains more Chinese than Western. When her sons, now 11 and 13, get home from school, she makes them practice Chinese characters every day for two hours, rebuffing their pleas to go to friends’ houses or play soccer.”

Yang Lan tells Amy Chua, “The parent’s job is to help their children find their true passion … as long as they get a 90 or better (on school work), that’s all I ask.”

Yang says of the Chinese children known as little emperors, belonging to the billion spoiled brats of the one-child generation, that “These spoiled, children often study and drill from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day.”

In addition, Zhang Lan revealed that she was “a hard-driving mother, regularly threatening and spanking her son when he didn’t make top grades.” Today, “he has repeatedly said how grateful he is to her.”

The kicker to me was what Peggy Yu Yu said to Chua. “Working women in China have advantages over their American counterparts … at least in business, women and men in China operate largely on a level playing field.

“Sixty years of communism, ” Yu said, “did one really good thing: bring true equality between the sexes.”

To read more of Amy Chua, the infamous Tiger Mother, see In Defense of Tiger Mothers Everywhere, Amy Chua Responds to Tiger Mother Critics, Tiger Parents Saving America One Child at a Time, Amy Chua’s Suicide Critics and my Review of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”


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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