Article 6 of the Common Program
Text
Article 6 of the Common Program

The People's Republic of China shall abolish the feudal system which holds women in bondage.
Women shall enjoy equal rights with men in political, economic, cultural, educational and social life.
Freedom of marriage for men and women shall be put into effect.



Mao Zedong (1927) writes in his ‘Report on an Investigation of the Hunan Peasant Movement.’ about the position of Chinese women. "A man in China is usually subjected to the domination of three systems of authority: (1) the state sys-tem (political authority), ranging from the national, provincial and county government down to that of the township; (2) the den system (clan authority), ranging from the central ancestral temple and its branch temples down to the head of the household; and (3) the supernatural system (religious authority), … As for women, in addition to being dominated by these three systems of authority, they are also dominated by the men (the authority of the husband)."
Mao Zedong “Report on an Investigation of the Hunan Peasant Movement”.
The CCP committed itself at the second Congress in 1922 to women’s liberation as an integral part of the revolution. Later on during the Japanese war, the position of women is still linked to the ‘four systems’ of authority. In our view, mobilising women to participate in the war is the basic task of the current women’s movement. However, if we are to increase women’s enthusiasm for participating in the war and want to enable them to participate spontaneously and self-consciously, then we have no option but to take appropriate steps to remove their feudal fetters, raise their social position, protect their personal interests and improve their lives.42
Zhang Qinqiu cited in Evans Harriet (2003).The language of liberation: gender and jiefang in early Chinese Communist Party discourse. In Wasserstrom Jeffrey N. (ed) Twentieth-century China. New Approaches. Page 203.
Mao Zedong articulates in his
preface
July 20, 1949 Mao Zedong preface in Women of New China
in the first edition of "Women of new China" ("Women of China" first appeared in Yan’an on June 1, 1939) the guiding principle that the emancipation of women has to meet. "Unite and take part in production and political activity to improve the economic and political status of women."
This preface is in line with the CC decision taken on December 28, 1948 about women work in the rural areas in the “liberated” regions. “The orientation of women’s work in the liberated areas should still be based on mobilizing and organizing women for an active part in production.”
Davin Delia (1976). Woman-work: Women and the party in revolutionary China. Clarendon Press. Page 201

Marriages before 1949...

See Timeline
The CCP sees itself as the first political party with commitment to women's development. The party hereby ignores previous attempts of the GMD government to improve the position of women. On May 5, 1932 the GMD enacts a family law, which recognizes the equality of husband and wife. However the law considers the husband as head of the family and he has the right to decide on parental responsibilities. The GMD takes the emancipation of the women as an important political issue, because it wants to break the loyalty to the family and strengthen the loyalty to the government. In reality the GMD government makes little effort to implement the law and she relies on a natural development.
Both men and women do not have free choice in marriage partner, this is certainly the case in rural areas. Here the (financial) status of the family is decisive. The patriarch of the family takes the decision. Before 1949 bigamy, child marriages, concubines, the killing of baby girls and human trafficking occurs throughout the country. The in-laws frequently treat the new wife as a house slave. After the fall of the empire members of the middle and higher classes in the big cities are able to escape from pre-arranged marriages.

The Marriage law of 1950....

The new Marriage law of the CCP has to put an end to the misogynistic practice. "…the compilation of the law took about eighteen months,'with constant re-examination, discussion and revision. Most of the provisions were said to have been revised thirty to forty times, representing the integration of opinions of various circles, among them the All-China Democratic Women's Federation, the People's Supreme Court, and the Ministry of Justice."
Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Marriage reform in the People’s Republic of China. Philippine Law Journal 51, (4). Page 366. The first regulation of divorce dates back to the 1931 Jiangxi Soviet’s Marriage Regulations of the Chinese Soviet Republic. It states in article 9: “Freedom of divorce is established. Whenever both the man and the woman agree to divorce, the divorce shall have immediate effect. When one party, either the man or the woman, is determined to claim a divorce, it shall have immediate effect” Cited in Huang Philip C. C.(2005) Divorce Law Practices and the Origins, Myths, and Realities of Judicial “Mediation” in China. Page 175. Cong (2016) states "In Liu (Shaoqi)’s instructions, he argued that the existing marriage regulations in various revolutionary base areas were not unifi ed and powerful enough in combatting feudalism. He suggested that the 1934 Soviet Marriage Law represented a firm stand against feudalism and should be used as the basis for drafting a new law. 8 The term underlying the principle of marriage reverted to ziyou (freedom instead of zhi zhu 'act for oneself'), and the policy became more radical." Page 247
The first 2 articles of this law, which is promulgated on May 1, 1950, state the law’s objectives of the New-Democratic marriage system, which is based on the free choice of partners, on monogamy, on equal rights for both sexes, and on the protection of the lawful interests of women and children, shall be put into effect.
Article 2 states “Bigamy, concubinage, child betrothal, interference with the re-marriage of widows, and the exaction of money or gifts in connection with marriages, shall be prohibited”.
In practice article 1 was not valid for everyone "Party and youth League members were expected to report their developing romantic interests to these organizations. If they wanted to marry someone from former wealthy classes or someone with a questionable personal history, they would be strongly discouraged, although not absolutely forbidden, from doing so”
Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Pages 390-391.
See also Article 7 Note 3

This law, like the GMD law has the characteristics of a family law and not a marriage law. “First, the state established itself as the primary and direct controller of marriage and family matters. Second, it aimed to eliminate senior male dominance and authority in marriage and family affairs in traditional Chinese society, and, along with it, forced marriage, gender inequality, matrimony and child marriage, or other forms of what the Chinese called “feudalistic” practices, and to promote freedom in marriage choice, monogamy, gender equality, and state protection of the legal rights and obligations of the parties to marriage and family relations."
Huang Xiaoming (2006). Modern state building and the problem of “intermediate institutions”: Religion, family and military in east Asia. Asian Studies Institute. Page 24

A marriage is forbidden with a person who is impotent caused by physical circumstances, or who has venereal disease or who is mentally ill (article 5) the control on the marriage is described in article 6. The newlyweds have to register in person in order to control the age of the partners and voluntariness of the marriage. If partners don’t register, the wedding is not legal. This article is meant to diminish the role of family and friends and to enhance the role of the state.Control over society therefore, was at the heart of marriage registration. In the beginning this rule of registration is not widely uphold .
"… although unregistered marriages are illegal, such marital relations may be acknowledged and persons in such relations may have their marriage legalized at any time when they register… The fact that China's new Marriage Law recognizes the formality of, marriage from dual standpoints -registration and social fact- can be considered a realistic approach in that this makes it possible for the Government to intercede against old feudalistic marriage practices not only by means of the registration system but also in other spheres, and also to extend legal protection to the women and their offspring."
Niida Noboru (1964). Land reform and new marriage law in China. The Developing Economies, 2, (1). Pages 7-8. "For a collective wedding after 1949, at least two—though usually more—couples joined in a ceremony, during which they received and signed their wedding certificates. After the ceremony, friends and family would gather for some tea and sweets. Such weddings were said to curtail excessive feasts, exorbitant dowries, and wasteful expenditures—all remnants of the ‘‘old society’’ (旧社会jiu shehui) in which weddings symbolized financial transactions between two families, not a free marriage of two individuals.2 Yet, although collective weddings seemed the ideal ceremony for the People’s Republic, the central government refrained from imposing unifying regulations. The PRC Marriage Law, which came into force in May 1950, made no mention of weddings. They were a local matter for lower-level people’s governments and people to address." Altehenger Jennifer E. (2015). Between state and service industry: Group and collective weddings in Communist Shanghai, 1949–1956. Twentieth-Century China, 40. 1. Page 49
Registration of marriages in the cities was often not seen as a major bureaucratic task.
"From an administrative perspective the situation in rural China was likely worse. Reports often mentioned that marriage registration got lost in a sea of other, more politically pressing, tasks. Unlike legal scholars who would speak of registration’s role in maintaining the “health of the nation,” this causal assertion was entirely lost upon rural officials."
Diamant Neil J. (2014). Policy Blending, Fuzzy Chronology, and Local Understandings of National Initiatives in Early 1950s China. Front. Hist. China 2014, 9(1). Page 88. Diamant (2001) states "By the late 1950s in rural China, numerous reports noted that peasants often did not bother to register their marriages, and the state had all but given up persuading them to undergo physical exams, which was one of the main rationales for marriage registration in the first place.26 In urban areas, reports also indicated widespread violation of registration requirements, particularly among the working classes. Much of the reason for this failure lies in the state itself—many officials were just as con- fused by this sudden intrusion into the private sphere as ordinary citizens,..." Diamant Neil J. (2001). Making Love “Legible” in China: Politics & Society during the Enforcement of Civil Marriage Registration, 1950-66. 29, 3. Page 452

Article 8 and 9 of this law define that both husband and wife seek after the welfare of the household and the construction of the new society. "The Party hoped to ameliorate fears about the disruptive potential of marriage reform by promising peasants that the fruits of a successful marriage remained the same, and that the new-style family was even more reproductively and agriculturally fecund than the old.”
Glosser Susan L.(2003). Chinese visions of family and state, 1915–1953. University of California Press. Page 217

Contraception....

In the first 4 years of the new regime there is an absolute ban on abortion, contraception and sterilisation. When the figures of the 1953 census are known, the ministry of public health lifts the ban on contraception. On December 27, 1954 Liu Shaoqi convenes a special conference on birth control. "In January and February 1955 a newly instated ad hoc commission, comprising representatives of the ministries of health, light industry, commerce and foreign trade, as well as the Women’s Federation, took up the study of concrete measures for birth control. Its recommendations were endorsed by the Party’s Central Committee in an internal directive of March 1955. The Central Committee acknowledged a growing demand for contraceptives among urban cadres and workers, and linked birth control to the economic well-being of the country."
Scharping Thomas (2013). Birth Control in China 1949-2000: Population Policy and Demographic Development. Routledge. Page 44
In 1955 in Guangzhou the first condom factory starts the production of this rubber.
The ministry of Health had prohibited the import of contraceptives as not being in accord with the country's policy in January 1953. Scharping Thomas (2013). Birth Control Page 44

Free choice of profession....

Husband and wife have the right of free choice of profession and freedom of participation in social activities. This freedom of career choice is very limited.
“After 1949, legitimate professional activities were limited to the public sector. Not only were disaffected professionals and managers unable to retreat to private lives, but they were also not even permitted to resign from their jobs without securing approval from the very superiors from whom they wished to escape.”
Davis Deborah S. (2000). Social class transformation in urban China: Training, hiring, and promoting urban professionals and managers after 1949. Modern China, 26, (3). Page 253
For years the private sector has been the most important source of employment. Since 1952 this sector slowly disappears and the collective segment takes this position.

  • Table
  • Students who are graduated have to apply to a national system of job allocation. It is almost impossible to refuse the allocated job.
    "Students were reminded how much better off they were from pre-1949 graduates for whom graduation had meant unemployment. At the same time, they were informed that it was "forbidden” (Renmin ribao, 7 August 1952: 1) for someone to act according to personal wishes or preferences by refusing a job on the frontier or a position as a teacher."
    Davis Deborah S. (2000). Page 258
    This concern reached the very top of the government. "In August 1950, Mao Zedong sent a short note to Zhou Enlai asking him to see that the responsible people take care of three Qinghua graduates who had refused their assignments."
    Davis Deborah S. (2000). Page 272, note 8
    More and more the state determines where the individual will work sometimes resulting in prolonged absence of the husband / wife in the family. The family is in socialist society looked upon as a partnership to be productive for the state and not for the individual. The importance of the state is preferential above the family and the individual.
    SU legislation has clearly influenced the text of Article 8 and 9 of the Marriage Law. This influence can be noted in the registration of the marriage; conditions of marriage with regard to kinship, rights and duties of the couple and the conditions of divorce.
    Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Page 369
    "Within the family, the notion of equal status between husband and wife undermined men's traditional superior status over women. Furthermore, parents were affected, since their influence over the marriages of their children was minimized. No provision was made for parents to assert authority over their children's divorces.Their traditional role is now filled by neighbors and fellow workers involved in divorce mediation."
    Wong Linda (1982). Family Reform through Divorce Law in the People's Republic of China. Pacific Basin Law Journal, 1, 2. Page 256

    Status of women....

    This SU influence can also be noted in the periodical “Women of China” This magazine makes propaganda to enlighten the Chinese women about the life and work of the Russian women. An entire generation of women in China benefited from this Soviet influence not only in their way of thinking, but also in the way they lived their lives.
    Jian Zang (2010). The Soviet impact on “gender equality” in China in the 1950s. in Bernstein Thomas P. & Li Hua-Yu (Eds.), China learns from the Soviet Union, 1949–present. The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series Lexington Books. Page 259
    See also Roxana Ng, The marriage law and family change in China with special reference to Kwangtung province 1950 – 1953, University of British Columbia, 1974. pp. 60-77
    The story of the life of Liang Jun, the first female tractor driver in China, is inspired by Soviet movies. “Liang Jun’s life story reinforced a central tenet of early 1950s propaganda campaigns to “Learn from the Soviet Union,” and that proclaimed “The Soviet Union is China’s Tomorrow.” These campaigns and their Chinese counterparts held up Soviet women as progressive examples for Chinese women and men. Their lifestyles and struggles were seen as prefiguring the struggles that Chinese were undertaking and identification with these women as part of an international socialist struggle was encouraged.”
    Chen Tina Mai (2007) Socialism, aestheticized bodies, and international circuits of gender: Soviet female film stars in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1969. Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 18, (2). Page 60
    See from the same writer Tina Mai Chen, ‘Female Icons, Feminist Iconography? Socialist Rhetoric and Women’s Agency in 1950s China’ Gender & History, Vol.15 No.2 August 2003, pp. 268–295 See also Du D.Y.(2017) Socialist Modernity in the Wasteland: Changing Representations of the Female Tractor Driver in China, 1949–1964. Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. pp. 55-94
    Dong (2004) notices that after 1953 women participated in increasing numbers in both national and internal sport competitions. Popular sports are basketball, volleyball, athletics, swimming, gymnastics, cycling. She states: "The starting point for female elite sport was virtually the same as for males. There was no obvious gap in the number of sports available to men and women. This was in striking contrast to America and other western nations, where men were involved in elite sport much earlier."
    Dong Jinxia (2004). Women, Sport and Society in Modern China: Holding Up More Than Half the Sky. Page 28

    Change of status....

    In 1954 the tone of the issues in the magazine changes and the role of the woman as housewife and mother is explicitly displayed. “The housewife was shown as contributing to society through her husband and family by acting as a sort of (unpaid) service worker for those who participated in production.”
    Davin Delia (1975). The implications of some aspects of C.C.P. Policy toward urban women in the 1950s. Modern China, 1, (4). Page 364. Sun (2011) studies the influence of posters and remarks "Drawn in distinctive colors, these poster women appeared strong yet feminine and beamed with pride and self-confidence. Implicit in the visual presentation is the definition of a kind of “new woman,” one who embraced her dual roles as a nurturing mother as well as a hard-working participant in the socialist movement. Needless to say, in actual reality women found it rather daunting to cope with the power dynamic between family and state..." Sun Yi(2011) Reading History in Visual Rhetoric: The Changing Images of Chinese Women, 1949-2009. Page 128
    "The position of the women in Chinese society has always been a difficult subject for the CCP. The class standing of housewives, in the CCP perception, was dubiously close to bourgeois. So it was necessary for officials in the S(hanghai) W(omen) F(ederation) to stress that of one million Shanghai housewives (all women without stable employment at the time (august 1949) were lumped into this category), the majority were not bourgeois parasites but lower-class and poor women. Appealing to Engels's theory of women's liberation, they argued that "her work is unpaid and has no significance for social production, but she is not a sheer consumer in society."
    Wang Zheng (2005). State feminism? Gender and socialist state formation in Maoist China. Feminist Studies, 31, (3). Pages 522-523
    There are no accurate statistics available on the numbers of housewives in China during the 1950s. According to Statistics on Women in China: 1949-1989 (Zhonghua quanguo funii lianhehui funii yanjiuhui 1991 239), it can be inferred that probably ninety percent of urban women were housewives. At the end of 1953, the number of female workers in state-owned enterprises was 2,132,000 and accounted for 6.6 percent of all urban women. Although some women might have taken part in production activities outside their households in other working units besides the state-owned enterprises, we can still say that most urban women during the early 1950s were housewives." Song Shaopeng (2007) The state discourse on housewives and housework in the 1950s in China. Page 49.
    The instructions of Hukou inspection officers in 1950 state: "If a woman is at home cooking and doing housework, does this count as having an occupation? What should it say on the household registration form? Answer: It doesn't count as an occupation. Leave the [relevant] box in the household registration form empty." See Graminius Carin (2017) Building a New China. Hukou Investigation Practices in Beijing and Tianjin, 1949–1950. The PRC History Review, 2, (1). Page 4
    This change of status in 1954 is not without a struggle, especially women who have been active in the military and political work have major problems to adapt to this change.
    "A relatively high proportion of the Hainan fighting force was women, and they were ordered to return to their homes and start families. This was hard to take, especially considering the selfproclaimed progressive New Democracy of the Communist regime in Beijing. The fighting women of Hainan protested the order to go from being Communist spies, soldiers, and field doctors one day, to housewives and wet-nurses the next."
    Murray Jeremy Andrew (2011). Culturing revolution: The local communists of China’s Hainan island. PhD., University of California. b7183687. Page 294
    The urban housewife's mission becomes the pursuit for 5 good things (wu hao); cooperation with the neighbourhoods; perform household work in a hygienic way; to raise the children with reason and not with violence; to stimulate children and husband to work hard and to study; and finally to study herself. The rural women have an additional task, they have to work hard.
    The reason for this change in policy is the high rate of unemployment in the cities. The status of the working woman in the propaganda is high but in reality she has the burden of 2 jobs, because keeping the household is an exclusive task of the woman.
    "The large-scale mobilisation of women’s participation in farming had a negative impact on women’s lives. The state’s mobilisation of women was not accompanied by exhortations to encourage men to take greater responsibility for housework. In the 1950s, peasant households consumed fewcommodities.Women made their own clothes and shoes by hand, and the cloth for making clothes was all spun and woven by women." "It means if a woman worked all year round, she could not provide enough clothes and shoes for the whole family, especially since she also had to cook three meals a day, do laundry and look after children." Gao Xiaoxian (2006) “The Silver Flower Contest”: Rural Women in 1950s China and the Gendered Division of Labour. Gender & History, 18, (3). Page 596
    The situation for the rural women is different.
    "In the Guanzhong area, most women did not work in the fields before 1949. They mainly worked at home in such sideline occupations as spinning yarn, weaving cloth and doing housework. After 1949, when the mutual aid teams and agricultural cooperatives were set up, more and more women started to work in the fields,...But until 1955, work in the fields remained largely unpopular among women."
    "In July 1954, the All-China Women’s Federation issued the ‘Instructions on Work with Peasant Women’, which stated: ‘currently the key task of working with peasant women is to further educate and organise peasant women to warmly support and take an active part in the great production movement with the mutual aid teams and cooperatives as the central force’.25”
    Gao Xiaoxian (2006) “The Silver Flower Contest”: Rural Women in 1950s China and the Gendered Division of Labour. Gender & History, 18, (3). Page 598
    Husband and wife have the rights in possession and management of the properties of the family. (article 10) This article reflects the Land reform law which states that everyone regardless of gender and age are entitled to land.

    Characteristic of a family law....

    Article 13 makes it clear once again that this marriage law is more of a family law. The children have a duty to support the parents. Even children from landlords and counter revolutionaries, who are pressed to distance themselves from their ‘bad’ parents are obliged to take care of them.
    In the magazine “China’s Youth” of 1954 issue no 17 it is stated in an article “Revolutionary youth should properly treat their own landlord and rich peasant families” “To be sure, during the revolutionary period and during land reform, it had been necessary to overemphasize the need to separate oneself from one’s parents’ ways of thought and behavior. It was now, however, a time of socialist construction, and except for unusual circumstances one must support one’s parents whatever their background. Not to do so would be to lose an opportunity to reeducate them”
    Cited in Parish William L. Jr. (1975). Socialism and the Chinese peasant family. The Journal of Asian Studies, 34, (3). Page 622

    Divorce....

    The marriage law doesnot include any list of the kinds of offenses that would warrant divorce. Instead, it focuses almost entirely on procedures, and not on principles. The right for women to be able to ask for a divorce raises much resistance. Both wife and husband have to agree to the divorce (article 17 of the marriage law) and have to go to court. The court will order an attempt at conciliation and if this fails will rule sentence.
    “The mediation system in Chinese society is deeply rooted in history and it would seem that the old tradition in China of the people trying to settle problems by themselves has been inherited by the new Chinese society.”
    Niida Noboru (1964). Page 12.
    Huang (2006) notices "Nowhere was the mediation ideology applied more persistently and vigorously than in contested divorces: the goal of court action was to minimize the incidence of divorce through aggressively implemented “mediated reconciliations” (tiaojie hehao), ... The stated rationale was that marriages would not be taken as lightly in “socialist China” as in the capitalist West. Divorce would be and should be much harder to obtain, despite the justice system’s emphasis on freedom of marriage and divorce and on gender equality."
    Huang Philip C. C.(2006). Court Mediation in China, Past and Present. Modern China, 32, 3. Page 287
    See Article 17
    According to
    Deng Yingchao
    Deng Yingchao (1904-1992) chairperson of the Women's Federation (1949-1978)
    , leader of the ACFDW, the mediation is required to protect the position of the wife. Most divorces are in the rural areas and not in the cities. Partly provoked by rural cadres, who were sent to the cities and are attracted to beautiful urban women. “In fact, the predilection for well-educated and urbane young women was so strong that in the Civil War period, some male cadres saw the Communists' final occupation of the urban areas as a chance for them to grab modem women.”
    Ip Hung-Yok (2003). Fashioning appearances: Feminine beauty in Chinese communist revolutionary culture. Page 345. Party cadres petitioned for and obtained a divorce on the grounds that the relationship with their wives had ruptured because they are filled with “backward feudal thought” or illiterate.
    There is also another reason for these ‘rural’ divorces. The rural cadres are completely occupied in their Land reform work and are often from home. The mothers in law are in no position to interfere because they can be accused of having feudal characteristics.
    See Neil J. Diamant, “Re-Examining the Impact of the 1950 Marriage Law: State Improvisation, Local Initiative and Rural Family Change” CQ 161 pg. 197-198. "...the Marriage Law had particular effects on transnational marriages. By giving women the right to sue for divorce if they had been abandoned for more than three years, the Law tapped into a chronic source of tension within transnational families: the frequent phenomenon of prolonged male absences and anxieties over the sexual and economic behaviour of absent spouses. ... local authorities ... announced that wives whose overseas husbands had not returned to China in the last three years could sue for divorce" Peterson (2007). House Divided: Transnational Families in the Early Years of the People's Republic of China, Asian Studies Review, 31:1. Page 30. Chan (2013) concludes"Although Party cadres implementing the Marriage Law in 1953 first portrayed qiaofu ((women of overseas husbands) as oppressed figures, the Party-state soon withdrew its commitment to liberating them from transnational marriages. The desire for overseas Chinese support for the new Chinese state, as well as the focus on building productive families to raise national production, eventually caused marriage reform to backfire. It led state officials to downplay conflicts between qiaofu and overseas Chinese that they had helped instigate at the beginning." Chan Shelly (2013). Rethinking the “Left-behind” in Chinese Migrations: A Case of Liberating Wives in 1950s South China. In Hoerder Dirk & Kaur Amarjit (Eds). Proletarian and Gendered Mass Migrations A Global Perspective on Continuities and Discontinuities from the 19th to the 21st Centuries. Studies in Global Social History, 12. Studies in Global Migration History
    Diamant (2000b)
    Diamant Neil J. (2000b). Revolutionizing the family: Politics, love, and divorce in urban and rural China, 1949-1968. University of California Press. Pages 59. 172-174. See also Diamant Neil J. (2001). Pursuing Rights and Getting Justice on China's Ethnic Frontier, 1949-1966. Law & Society Review, 34, 4. No page number "Not only were local state institutions (such as mediation and residence committees) dominated by illiterate workers and former People's Liberation Army officers, its new Marriage Law demanded that they break down the cultural barriers that allowed them to claim elite class status in the first place. Not surprisingly, many avoided the state."
    states townspeople are less inclined to go to court because they fear loss of face and the aversion for the involvement of legal researchers. The official number of divorces are in 1950: 186.000, 1951: 409.000 and 396.000 in the first 6 months of 1952. The number of divorce cases in the courts reaches more than 1,170,000 nationwide in the single year of 1953. During 1950-1953 each year 70.000 to 80.000 Chinese women and men (mostly women) committed suicide or were killed because of the lack of freedom in marriage.
    In February 1953 Zhou Enlai introduces some restrictions on divorces. "only in the very small number of cases where nuptial relations have deteriorated to the stage that they can no longer be continued, may divorces be permitted, and then only after serious efforts at mediation and persuasion in order to win popular sympathy from the masses. 129"
    Cited in Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Page 369
    Evans (2003) remarks "As a potentially gendered process, funü jiefang (women's liberation) rarely referred to release from male controls on grounds of gender. Typically, it called for a challenge to male authority only when this was associated with class oppressors. Within the social classes and sectors to which the term funü jiefang applied, women’s liberation could not be divisive. It could only target men of the non-revolutionary classes, men not included within the ranks of renmin, the People."
    Evans (2003). The language of liberation. Page 203
    The opportunities of women after a divorce are very limited. They have to hope that their own family will adopt her. There are barely alternatives, all nunneries and brothels are closed and to live as a concubine is also impossible.
    Cohen Myron L.(1998) North China rural families changes during the communist era. Études chinoises, 17, (1-2). Page 71

    Brothels....

    Immediately after the proclamation of the People's Republic of China the governments starts a campaign to close all brothels in China. This operation starts in Beijing in October 1949 and ends in January 1950 but in some cities the brothels close in 1952 (Xi’an, Qingdao and Wuhan). In Shanghai there are still brothels until 1958.
    “In October 1949, the number of brothels in Shanghai was 525; by the end of 1950 it was 156 and by the end of the Campaign to Suppress counterrevolutionaries in November 1951 it was seventy-two. Similar tactics in Tianjin were successful in reducing the number of brothels by 213 by January 1950.”
    Biddulph Sarah (2007). Legal reform and administrative detention powers in China. Cambridge University Press. Page 73

    The prostitutes are sent to little detention centre to be re-educated. They are put under medical supervision and have to learn a profession in order to support themselves. After their release they are still under supervision.
    Luo Ruiqing
    Luo Ruiqing (1906-1978) Minister of Public Security (1949-1959)
    , the minister of public security, states “Beijing is one of the very first cities to carry out reeducation. We have gained a great deal of experience through the processes of interning and dealing with the reeducatees, material preparation, and the like. We must summarize all of these facts ... so that cities currently undergoing the takeover process and those about to do so can absorb lessons from that experience and carry out their work more effectively.”
    Cited in Smith Aminda M.(2012). Thought reform and China's dangerous classes: Reeducation, resistance, and the people. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Page 58
    Not all of them wanted to change their way of living “…interned prostitutes resisted government control, they did so because “they had suffered years of exploitation and oppression,” and thus “they were terrified, suspicious, and mistrustful”.
    Smith Aminda M. (2013). Thought Reform and the Unreformable: Reeducation Centers and the Rhetoric of Opposition in the Early People's Republic of China. The Journal of Asian Studies, 72. Page 938
    The thought reformers have to make a clear distinction in the nature, causes, and resolution of each type of resistance. See Article 17 .

    The implementation of the marriage law....

    The new government starts an intensive campaign to promote the new law. The CCP, the ACFDW, the ACFTU, the PLA, educational institutes and several social organizations have been mobilized to back this campaign. Posters, radio broadcast, discussion meetings and cultural performances have been deployed to make this law known by the masses. Various forms of popular culture are adopted and adapted in supporting the marriage reform campaign.
    Cong Xiaoping (2016). Marriage, Law and Gender in Revolutionary China, 1940–1960. Page 244
    See Article 45 . The administration intensely supports local cadres, who have to overcome much resistance in the countryside and often themselves are not convinced of the purpose of the law. "…the Marriage Law campaign frequently occurred in the midst of revolutionary changes in the countryside, particularly Land Reform. In many cases the language of land reform as well as its methods and selection of “targets” broke loose from the confines of that campaign and spilled into the implementation of the Marriage Law, resulting in full-blown blending;…"
    Diamant Neil J. (2014). Page 90
    One year after the implementation of the marriage law resistance appears to be big. On September 26, 1951 the minister of Justice
    Shi Liang
    Shi Liang (1900-1985) a lawyer and minister of Justice (1949-1959)
    announces the start of extensive investigation into the application of the Marriage Law. Shi Liang visited grassroots governments and courts to assess the law's implementation. One of the results of this investigation is “The system of judgement and work style have to be revised: the cadres must handle marital cases positively. They should not only await people to appeal, but should actively support women's rights and carry out the task of educating the masses."
    Cited in Ng Roxana (1974). The marriage law and family change in China with special reference to Kwangtung province 1950 – 1953. University of British Columbia. Page 92

    Mao Zedong also expresses his concern about the implementation of the law and about the slackness of the cadres who are in charge of implementation and control. On November 12, 1952 in a conversation with delegates of the ACFDW he offers three hints “… (first, submit proposals to the Party committee);… (second, push for the Party committee to reply) ;…( if the first two methods did not work, third, just curse and swear.).”
    Cited in Wang Zheng (2006). Dilemmas of inside agitators: Chinese state feminists in 1957. The China Quarterly,188. Page 914. Most of the leaders of the ACFDW are highly educated and their activities and experiences focused primarily on urban settings.
    Many party cadres wanted to postpone the law by presenting it first to the "masses". Mao Zedong Mao was opposed “…after its promulgation it is right, without doubt, that the broad masses of the people should be roused to express their opinion through discussion. However, the idea of temporarily postponing its operation cannot be accepted."
    Cited in Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Page 377
    Cong (2016) notices "As a political campaign executed on a large scale and in a short time span, the Marriage Law became a project that was pushed from the top, often leaving little room for local adjustment, flexibility, or assimilation."
    Cong (2016).Marriage, Law and Gender. Page 246

    On February 1, 1953 Prime Minister Zhou Enlai announces the start of an enforcement campaign to eliminate the still existing feudal thoughts and behaviour regarding marriage. 18 days later he instructs the party cadres. The total number of instructions are 25.
    This crusade differs in character from the 1950 campaign. The harmonious aspect of family is more emphasized and the fast implementation is delayed because of the disturbance of the existing social order. The class struggle plays a major role in implementation of the Land reform law but a very minor role in the execution of the marriage law.
    See chapter 10 “The 1953 Marriage Law Campaign” pp. 138-154 in Kay Ann Johnson, “Women, the Family, and Peasant Revolution in China”, The University of Chicago Press. 1983 "Some of these groups (the local government leadership and cadres) even openly resisted the Marriage Law by upholding traditional customs and interfering with individual marriage freedoms. As the result of such maladministration, the practice of arranged marriage was still popular,women were still constantly oppressed and abused, and related suicide and homicide cases were still common." Directive of the Government Administration Council of the Central People’s Government on the Implementation of the Marriage Law], February, 1, 1953 cited in Xu Wei(2011). From Marriage Revolution to Revolutionary Marriage: Marriage Practice of the Chinese Communist Party in Modern Era, 1910s-1950s. PhD. The University of Western Ontario
    In November 1953 a commission of inquiry publishes their results. The campaign has been a success in 15% of the country, in 60% of the country the campaign is fairly conducted and in 25% the situation is still bad. The commission concludes the campaign can be ended and the welfare work will be a part of the next five year plan 1953-1957.
    Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Pages 383-384
    This campaign did not run in minority regions and areas where the land reform is still not finished.
    Another aspect of the propaganda focusses on the danger of sexual activities of women outside the marriage. “Sex is no longer a private, personal matter; love is no longer an individual affair. The marriage relationship is neither a biological union nor a psychological unity, but a grim necessity, historically and materially conditioned.”
    Fu Shanglin (1955). The new marriage law of communist China. Hong Kong University Press. Page 122
    The party itself is not a forerunner in women emancipation. In the 7th CC (1945) only 2 delegates of the total of 77 are female. In the 8th CC (1956) there are only 8 female delegates. The total number exists of 170 members. Only 12% of the elected delegates of the NPC (1954) are female and the delegates to the CPPCC (1949) only 10% are female.

    Info

    Conclusion...

    The new law improves the position of the women, the amount of female students increases gradually.
    See Harriet Evans,The language of liberation: gender and jiefang in early chinese communist party discourse. Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context Issue 1, September 1998

    Table

    "In 1952, fewer than 600,000 women were employed at state-owned enterprises (SOE), while over 40% of those who were registered and willing to work could not find jobs."
    Sun (2011). Reading History in Visual Rhetoric. Page 130
    The existing social order must not be disturbed too much because this will interfere with the development of the economy. The CCP considers the military, economic and political reforms more important than the emancipation of women.The law is never intended to free the woman as an individual person. The CCP sees women as a unified mass with a single set of interests based on gender. The same applies for a man. The liberation of the women is a common goal under the leadership of the CCP. The party defines the rules because they are the vanguard and the voice of the people. The instrument for the liberation of women is the ACFDW, this organization acts in the interest of the women.
    ""Women-work" historically included mobilizing women to accomplish tasks for the CCP revolution and addressing issues concerning women's interests, welfare, and equal rights. Both components were seen as complementary to each other and crucial for engaging women in a political process for women's liberation. Women-work, however, was subordinate to the Party's "central work"-never becoming a Party priority. The tension between women work and the Party's central work has been a constant reality for communist women in charge of women-work,..." Wang Zheng (2005). "State Feminism"? Gender and Socialist State Formation in Maoist China. Feminist Studies, 31,3. Page 521
    "It was very rare for even the highest ranking ACWF leaders to criticize the link between women and the home. So entwined were women and the family that in addition to protecting the interests of women, the ACWF was charged with the protection of children’s welfare.46"
    Johns Jamie (2010). “What Do Women Live For?”: Women of China and the All-China Women’s Federation. Page 18

    The ACFDW achieves some minor issues, including paid maternity leave, and active and passive voting rights for women. The slow economic development throughout the 50’s weakens the position of women.

    Literature Notes Documents...

    2. Zhang Qinqiu cited in Evans Harriet (2003).The language of liberation: gender and jiefang in early Chinese Communist Party discourse. In Wasserstrom Jeffrey N. (ed) Twentieth-century China. New Approaches. London. Page 203. Back
    3. Davin Delia (1976). Woman-work: Women and the party in revolutionary China. Clarendon Press. Page 201 Back
    4. Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Marriage reform in the People’s Republic of China. Philippine Law Journal 51, (4). Page 366. The first regulation of divorce dates back to the 1931 Jiangxi Soviet’s Marriage Regulations of the Chinese Soviet Republic. It states in article 9: “Freedom of divorce is established. Whenever both the man and the woman agree to divorce, the divorce shall have immediate effect. When one party, either the man or the woman, is determined to claim a divorce, it shall have immediate effect” Cited in Huang Philip C. C.(2005) Divorce Law Practices and the Origins, Myths, and Realities of Judicial “Mediation” in China. Page 175. Cong (2016) states "In Liu (Shaoqi)’s instructions, he argued that the existing marriage regulations in various revolutionary base areas were not unifi ed and powerful enough in combatting feudalism. He suggested that the 1934 Soviet Marriage Law represented a firm stand against feudalism and should be used as the basis for drafting a new law. 8 The term underlying the principle of marriage reverted to ziyou (freedom instead of zhi zhu 'act for oneself'), and the policy became more radical." Page 247 Back
    5. Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Pages 390-391 Back
    6. Huang Xiaoming (2006). Modern state building and the problem of “intermediate institutions”: Religion, family and military in east Asia. Asian Studies Institute. Page 24 Back
    7. Niida Noboru (1964). Land reform and new marriage law in China. The Developing Economies, 2, (1). Pages 7-8. "For a collective wedding after 1949, at least two—though usually more—couples joined in a ceremony, during which they received and signed their wedding certificates. After the ceremony, friends and family would gather for some tea and sweets. Such weddings were said to curtail excessive feasts, exorbitant dowries, and wasteful expenditures—all remnants of the ‘‘old society’’ (旧社会jiu shehui) in which weddings symbolized financial transactions between two families, not a free marriage of two individuals.2 Yet, although collective weddings seemed the ideal ceremony for the People’s Republic, the central government refrained from imposing unifying regulations. The PRC Marriage Law, which came into force in May 1950, made no mention of weddings. They were a local matter for lower-level people’s governments and people to address." Altehenger Jennifer E. (2015). Between state and service industry: Group and collective weddings in Communist Shanghai, 1949–1956. Twentieth-Century China, 40. 1. Page 49 Back
    8. Diamant Neil J. (2014). Policy Blending, Fuzzy Chronology, and Local Understandings of National Initiatives in Early 1950s China. Front. Hist. China 2014, 9(1). Page 88. Diamant (2001) states "By the late 1950s in rural China, numerous reports noted that peasants often did not bother to register their marriages, and the state had all but given up persuading them to undergo physical exams, which was one of the main rationales for marriage registration in the first place.26 In urban areas, reports also indicated widespread violation of registration requirements, particularly among the working classes. Much of the reason for this failure lies in the state itself—many officials were just as confused by this sudden intrusion into the private sphere as ordinary citizens,..." Diamant Neil J. (2001). Making Love “Legible” in China: Politics and Society during the Enforcement of Civil Marriage Registration, 1950-66. Politics & Society 29, 3. Page 452 Back
    9. Glosser Susan L.(2003). Chinese visions of family and state, 1915–1953. University of California Press. Page 217 Back
    10. Scharping Thomas (2013). Birth Control in China 1949-2000: Population Policy and Demographic Development. Routledge. Page 44 Back
    11. The ministry of Health had prohibited the import of contraceptives as not being in accord with the country's policy in January 1953. Scharping Thomas (2013). Birth Control Page 44 Back
    12. Davis Deborah S. (2000). Social class transformation in urban China: Training, hiring, and promoting urban professionals and managers after 1949. Modern China, 26, (3). Page 253 Back
    13. Davis Deborah S. (2000). Page 258 Back
    14. Davis Deborah S. (2000). Page 272, note 8 Back
    15. Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Page 369 Back
    16. Wong Linda (1982). Family Reform through Divorce Law in the People's Republic of China. Pacific Basin Law Journal, 1, 2. Page 256 Back
    17. Jian Zang (2010). The Soviet impact on “gender equality” in China in the 1950s. in Bernstein Thomas P. & Li Hua-Yu (Eds.), China learns from the Soviet Union, 1949–present. The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series Lexington Books. Page 259 Back
    18. See also Roxana Ng, The marriage law and family change in China with special reference to Kwangtung province 1950 – 1953, University of British Columbia, 1974. pp. 60-77. Back
    19. Chen Tina Mai (2007) Socialism, aestheticized bodies, and international circuits of gender: Soviet female film stars in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1969. Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 18, (2). Page 60 Back
    20. See from the same writer Tina Mai Chen, ‘Female Icons, Feminist Iconography? Socialist Rhetoric and Women’s Agency in 1950s China’ Gender & History, Vol.15 No.2 August 2003, pp. 268–295. See also Du D.Y.(2017) Socialist Modernity in the Wasteland: Changing Representations of the Female Tractor Driver in China, 1949–1964. Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. pp. 55-94 Back
    21. Dong Jinxia (2004). Women, Sport and Society in Modern China: Holding Up More Than Half the Sky. Page 28 Back
    22. Davin Delia (1975). The implications of some aspects of C.C.P. Policy toward urban women in the 1950s. Modern China, 1, (4). Page 364. Sun (2011) studies the influence of posters and remarks "Drawn in distinctive colors, these poster women appeared strong yet feminine and beamed with pride and self-confidence. Implicit in the visual presentation is the definition of a kind of “new woman,” one who embraced her dual roles as a nurturing mother as well as a hard-working participant in the socialist movement. Needless to say, in actual reality women found it rather daunting to cope with the power dynamic between family and state..." Sun Yi(2011) Reading History in Visual Rhetoric: The Changing Images of Chinese Women, 1949-2009. Page 128 Back
    23. Wang Zheng (2005). State feminism? Gender and socialist state formation in Maoist China. Feminist Studies, 31, (3). Pages 522-523. Back
    24. "There are no accurate statistics available on the numbers of housewives in China during the 1950s. According to Statistics on Women in China: 1949-1989 (Zhonghua quanguo funii lianhehui funii yanjiuhui 1991 239), it can be inferred that probably ninety percent of urban women were housewives. At the end of 1953, the number of female workers in state-owned enterprises was 2,132,000 and accounted for 6.6 percent of all urban women. Although some women might have taken part in production activities outside their households in other working units besides the state-owned enterprises, we can still say that most urban women during the early 1950s were housewives." Song Shaopeng (2007) The state discourse on housewives and housework in the 1950s in China. Page 49.
    The instructions of Hukou inspection officers in 1950 state: "If a woman is at home cooking and doing housework, does this count as having an occupation? What should it say on the household registration form? Answer: It doesn't count as an occupation. Leave the [relevant] box in the household registration form empty." See Graminius Carin (2017) Building a New China. Hukou Investigation Practices in Beijing and Tianjin, 1949–1950. The PRC History Review, 2, (1). Page 4 Back
    25. Murray Jeremy Andrew (2011). Culturing revolution: The local communists of China’s Hainan island. PhD., University of California. b7183687. Page 294 Back
    26. "The large-scale mobilisation of women’s participation in farming had a negative impact on women’s lives. The state’s mobilisation of women was not accompanied by exhortations to encourage men to take greater responsibility for housework. In the 1950s, peasant households consumed fewcommodities.Women made their own clothes and shoes by hand, and the cloth for making clothes was all spun and woven by women." "It means if a woman worked all year round, she could not provide enough clothes and shoes for the whole family, especially since she also had to cook three meals a day, do laundry and look after children." Gao Xiaoxian (2006) “The Silver Flower Contest”: Rural Women in 1950s China and the Gendered Division of Labour. Gender & History, 18, (3). Page 596 Back
    27. "In the Guanzhong area, most women did not work in the fields before 1949. They mainly worked at home in such sideline occupations as spinning yarn, weaving cloth and doing housework. After 1949, when the mutual aid teams and agricultural cooperatives were set up, more and more women started to work in the fields,...But until 1955, work in the fields remained largely unpopular among women." Gao Xiaoxian (2006) “The Silver Flower Contest”: Rural Women in 1950s China and the Gendered Division of Labour. Gender & History, 18, (3). Page 606 Back
    28. Gao Xiaoxian (2006) “The Silver Flower Contest”: Rural Women in 1950s China and the Gendered Division of Labour. Gender & History, 18, (3). Page 598 Back
    29. Cited in Parish William L. Jr. (1975). Socialism and the Chinese peasant family. The Journal of Asian Studies, 34, (3). Page 622 Back
    30. Niida Noboru (1964). Page 12 Back
    31. Huang Philip C. C.(2006). Court Mediation in China, Past and Present. Modern China, 32, 3. Page 287 Back
    32. Ip Hung-Yok (2003). Fashioning appearances: Feminine beauty in Chinese communist revolutionary culture. Page 345. Party cadres petitioned for and obtained a divorce on the grounds that the relationship with their wives had ruptured because they are filled with “backward feudal thought” or illiterate. Back
    33. See Neil J. Diamant, “Re-Examining the Impact of the 1950 Marriage Law: State Improvisation, Local Initiative and Rural Family Change” CQ 161 pg. 197-198. "...the Marriage Law had particular effects on transnational marriages. By giving women the right to sue for divorce if they had been abandoned for more than three years, the Law tapped into a chronic source of tension within transnational families: the frequent phenomenon of prolonged male absences and anxieties over the sexual and economic behaviour of absent spouses. ... local authorities ... announced that wives whose overseas husbands had not returned to China in the last three years could sue for divorce" Peterson (2007). House Divided: Transnational Families in the Early Years of the People's Republic of China, Asian Studies Review, 31:1. Page 30. Chan (2013) concludes"Although Party cadres implementing the Marriage Law in 1953 first portrayed qiaofu ((women of overseas husbands) as oppressed figures, the Party-state soon withdrew its commitment to liberating them from transnational marriages. The desire for overseas Chinese support for the new Chinese state, as well as the focus on building productive families to raise national production, eventually caused marriage reform to backfire. It led state officials to downplay conflicts between qiaofu and overseas Chinese that they had helped instigate at the beginning." Chan Shelly (2013). Rethinking the “Left-behind” in Chinese Migrations: A Case of Liberating Wives in 1950s South China. In Hoerder Dirk & Kaur Amarjit (Eds). Proletarian and Gendered Mass Migrations A Global Perspective on Continuities and Discontinuities from the 19th to the 21st Centuries. Studies in Global Social History, 12. Studies in Global Migration History Back
    34. Diamant Neil J. (2000b). Revolutionizing the family: Politics, love, and divorce in urban and rural China, 1949-1968. University of California Press. Pages 59. 172-174. See also Diamant Neil J. (2001). Pursuing Rights and Getting Justice on China's Ethnic Frontier, 1949-1966. Law & Society Review, 34, 4. No page number "Not only were local state institutions (such as mediation and residence committees) dominated by illiterate workers and former People's Liberation Army officers, its new Marriage Law demanded that they break down the cultural barriers that allowed them to claim elite class status in the first place. Not surprisingly, many avoided the state." Back
    35. Cited in Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Page 369 Back
    36.Evans (2003). The language of liberation. Page 203 Back
    37.Cohen Myron L.(1998) North China rural families changes during the communist era. Études chinoises, 17, (1-2). Page 71 Back
    38. Biddulph Sarah (2007). Legal reform and administrative detention powers in China. Cambridge University Press. Page 73 Back
    39. Cited in Smith Aminda M.(2012). Thought reform and China's dangerous classes: Reeducation, resistance, and the people. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Page 58 Back
    40. Smith Aminda M. (2013). Thought Reform and the Unreformable: Reeducation Centers and the Rhetoric of Opposition in the Early People's Republic of China. The Journal of Asian Studies, 72. Page 938 Back
    41.Cong Xiaoping (2016). Marriage, Law and Gender in Revolutionary China, 1940–1960. Page 244 Back
    42. Diamant Neil J. (2014). Page 90 Back
    43. Cited in Ng Roxana (1974). The marriage law and family change in China with special reference to Kwangtung province 1950 – 1953. University of British Columbia. Page 92 Back
    44. Cited in Wang Zheng (2006). Dilemmas of inside agitators: Chinese state feminists in 1957. The China Quarterly, 188. Page 914 Back
    45. Cited in Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Page 377 Back
    46. Cong (2016).Marriage, Law and Gender. Page 246 Back
    47. See chapter 10 “The 1953 Marriage Law Campaign” pp. 138-154 in Kay Ann Johnson, “Women, the Family, and Peasant Revolution in China”, The University of Chicago Press. 1983. "Some of these groups (the local government leadership and cadres) even openly resisted the Marriage Law by upholding traditional customs and interfering with individual marriage freedoms. As the result of such maladministration, the practice of arranged marriage was still popular,women were still constantly oppressed and abused, and related suicide and homicide cases were still common." 70,000 to 80,000 women had “been murdered or forced into suicide” annually since 1950. Directive of the Government Administration Council of the Central People’s Government on the Implementation of the Marriage Law], February, 1, 1953 cited in Xu Wei(2011). From Marriage Revolution to Revolutionary Marriage: Marriage Practice of the Chinese Communist Party in Modern Era, 1910s-1950s. The University of Western Ontario. Page 206 Back
    48. Green Dorros Sybilla (1976). Pages 383-384 Back
    49. Fu Shanglin (1955). The new marriage law of communist China. Hong Kong University Press. Page 122 Back
    50. See Harriet Evans,The language of liberation: gender and jiefang in early chinese communist party discourse. Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context Issue 1, September 1998. Back
    51.Sun (2011). Reading History in Visual Rhetoric. Page 130 Back
    52. ""Women-work" historically included mobilizing women to accomplish tasks for the CCP revolution and addressing issues concerning women's interests, welfare, and equal rights. Both components were seen as complementary to each other and crucial for engaging women in a political process for women's liberation. Women-work, however, was subordinate to the Party's "central work"-never becoming a Party priority. The tension between women work and the Party's central work has been a constant reality for communist women in charge of women-work,..." Wang Zheng (2005). "State Feminism"? Gender and Socialist State Formation in Maoist China. Feminist Studies, 31,3. Page 521 Back
    53. Johns Jamie (2010). “What Do Women Live For?”: Women of China and the All-China Women’s Federation. Page 18 Back

    Documents....

    01-05-1950 The Marriage law
    Continue to article 7