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    Chinese Society Essay (1443 words)

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    China PaperCHINESE SOCIETYEven since the dramatic post-1949 changes in China regarding the role of women, China has remained paternalistic in it’s attitudes and socialreality. The land reform, which was intended to create a more balancedeconomic force in marriage, was the beginning of governmental efforts topacify women, with no real social effect. Communist China needed to address the woman question. Since women wanted more equality, and equality is doled out from the hands of those in power,capitalism was examined. The economic issues of repressed Chinese womenwere focused on the Land Act and the Marriage Act of 1950.

    The Land reformsucceeded in eliminating the extended family’s material basis and hence,its potential for posing as a political threat to the regime. Small-plotswere redistributed to each family member regardless of age or sex; and landreform provisions stipulated that property would be equally divided in thecase of divorce. Nonetheless, their husbands effectively controlled landallotted to women. Patriarchal familial relationships in the Confuciantradition seemed to remain intact. The Marriage Law of 1950 legalized marriage, denounced patriarchalauthority in the household and granted both sexes equal rights to file fordivorce.

    The second and most prominent element of the strategy wasintegrating women into economic development. Women’s employment was viewedas a prerequisite for emancipation from bourgeois structures as embodied inthe patriarchal family. Furthermore, at the core of the CCP’s strategy forpolitical consolidation was economic reconstruction and rural development. The full participation of women was not only an ideological imperative buta pragmatic one. Third, the All-China Women’s Federation (W.

    F. ) wasestablished by the CCP to mobilize women for economic development andsocial reform. Women did succeed in gaining materialisticly. However, culture dictates whether these governmental attempts can besuccessful and China has proven that they were only panaceas for the realissue. Materialistic approaches could not shadow the issue of the view inChinese society of the role of women.

    In the struggle for equality, Chinadid not go to the women to find what they believed to be the most effectiveanswer to the issue. The paternalistic powers gave women what they thoughtthey needed for an equalizer, not understanding the need forself-affirmation and independence. The issue the women rallied under was that men were answering the womanquestion. Women’s organizations were not allowed their voice, which becamean ironic and frustrating endorsement to the pathetic state of women inChina. The One-Family, One-Child policy launched in 1979 has turned reproductioninto an area of direct state intervention.

    The new regime under Deng madethe neo-Malthusian observation that the economic gains from reform werebarely sufficient to accommodate a population of one billion, given thenatural population growth rate of 1. 26 percent, much less provide a basefor advanced industrial development. The One-Family, One-Child campaignshave therefore targeted women to limit their childbearing as a patrioticduty. The family planning policy is implemented by local units of the W.

    F. ,barefoot doctors and health workers who are mainly women. Each family isvisited individually by members of the local family planning committee. After the first child, women are awarded a one-child certificate thatentitles them to a number of privileges.

    Standard regulations concerningthe type of birth control method employed require IUDs after one child,sterilization after the second one and abortion for unapproved pregnancies. The policy rests on a coercive system of sanctions and rewards. Economicsanctions include: payment of an excess child levy as compensation to thestate for the cost of another child to the country; reduction in thefamily’s grain ration (or higher prices) for producing a surplus child;limitations on additional land for private plots and the right tocollective grain in times of flood and drought; and ineligibility forpromotion for four years, demotion, or reduction in wages (Anders,52). Moreover, the offending couple has to bear all expenses for medical careand education of excess children, and extra children have the lowestpriority in admission to kindergarten, school and medical institutions. In contrast, one-child families are entitled to many privileges includingmonthly or annual cash subsidies for health or welfare until the childreaches fourteen years of age; and additional private plots from thecommune.

    Single children are entitled to free education, health services,and priority in admission to nurseries, schools and hospitals. Parentsreceive an additional subsidy to their old age pension (Croll,89). The basis for the issue is ironical again. Population growth is generallythe result of a well functioning society.

    Improved medicine and nutritionhas sustained a higher life expectancy. Internal peace in China has alsocontributed to the individuals living longer. Since Communism rests on thedoling out of commodities and benefits based on the number in a household,the structure of the government itself encouraged population growth. The rural resurgence produced the natural effect of having more children tohelp with the work and produce more. Lack of space in Urban area’s inducedpressure on couples not to have more children.

    A satisfying compromise wasnever reached between the two mitigating factors of urban and rural familyneeds. Thus, an ineffective initiative was implemented. Due to the ineffectiveness of the law, compliance became a problem,especially in the rural areas. Women were looked to for the solution tothe problem. Forced sterilization and abortions were becoming commonplacein the regions where pressure was put on the officials to take action.

    Threats of violence and the loss of assets of a family were gorilla tacticsused on the offenders of non-compliance. The self-esteem of Chinese women and girls was all but crushed with beinglooked at as worthless, since boys were highly valued in single familyhomes. Girls were to be for the use of others. In attempts to save money,girls were kept away from school and provided cheap domestic labor instead. It is obvious to see the cultural battle that women in China have beforethem.

    The demands of rural agricultural labor undermine the one-child lawand create conflict on many levels in both rural and urban China. While it is easy to belabor the oppression of women in China, one must lookto the monumental strides that a Communist nation was able to take in thelast 50 years. An unparalleled determination rested in the Communists goalfor answering the woman question. The strides that were takeneconomically have contributed to the betterment of many Chinese women.

    Communist China’s intentions were to provide women with economicequalization which shook the foundation of Chinese society. Themale-dominated household was being challenged to recognize the legitimateother half. Remembering that girls were considered useless, brings tolight the true strides that have advanced Chinese society in the form oflegal recognition. The intra-familial relations have not evolved along the lines ofrecognition of the individuality and authenticity of women. For example,the barbaric practice of foot binding, which rendered a woman powerless tobe an economic contributor.

    And even beyond that, the twist in idealizingsomething so demeaning to women demonstrated that China was not ready torelease their cultural bonds on women. Arranged marriages offered nothingfor women in as far as emotional release. The more estranged a husband andwife were, the more beneficial for the husbands mother. Wealthy husbandswere allowed concubines while the poor men merely had affairs. This is not meant to imply that the state and the household are monolithicagents in an overdetermined system of patriarchy.

    Although male-dominationpersists, socialist ideology raised the consciousness of women to theexistence of their subordinate social valuation. Women did not receive asmany work points as men for comparable labor in the agricultural commune. Women were encouraged to contribute more to farm work so that men couldpursue more important forms of production. Women were recruited forpolitical activities but then expected to fulfill their domesticresponsibilities and serve the patriarchal interests of the state. In eachcase there were women who attempted to challenge the privileged status ofmen.

    But then there were also women enlisted by the party-state to reorientthe terms of equality under socialism. In an ironic recognition of theintersubjective synergy between the patriarchal state and household,Zhongguo Fun (Women of China) wrote the following in response to theresistance of rural women cadres to housework: Family and state are interdependent and interrelated. For this reason, inChina home work and social labor are mutually geared together, and homework is just a part of social labor and plays an important part insocialist construction. . .

    . If a woman can integrate what little she can dointo the great cause of socialist construction and if she has the ideal ofworking for the happiness of future generations, she would be a nobleperson, a woman of benefit to the masses, a woman of communistmorality (Anders,46). Women in China must still adhere to the traditional roles set about bytheir culture. The Communist Revolution provided the examination of theroles of women in China and implemented important steps toward therecognition of their legitimacy. Rightly so, Chinese feminists are notsatisfied with their place in society and campaign for a new and betterunderstanding of the value of women in society.History Essays

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