The story appears on

Page A12

April 19, 2021

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » City specials » Hangzhou

Patriotic center marks women’s liberation

Before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, most Chinese women were banned from receiving education, and illiterate females were often considered to have moral integrity.

They were not able to choose whom they married to and had to obey parents’ arrangement. Some were even tortured because of footbinding and child brides.

In the 1950s, the Communist Party of China started to liberate women over the country. In Qianhe Village of Hangzhou’s Jiande County, local females initiated to break the old constraint and came up with the idea of “equal work and equal pay for women” under the leadership of the CPC.

First of all, they fought for equal work in agricultural production and incubated an encouraging spirit of “No waiting, no depending, thinking and acting, working together,” which had set up a good example for women over the country.

In 1955, Chairman Mao Zedong praised Qianhe Women for their great initiatives and insisted the “women hold up half of the sky” slogan which has spurred generations of Chinese women. Thereafter, the village has been considered one of the original places for Chinese women’s liberation move in modern days.

Last year, Hangzhou government built the Qianhe Women Spirit Hall in the village to display Chinese women’s liberation history since late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), especially Qianhe people’s strides in the fight for gender equality.

Today, the venue has developed into a patriotic education center, encouraging women to realize their self-worth and make their voices heard. It was awarded the title of “National Model Patriotic Education Base for Women” by virtue of the contributions to protecting women’s rights.

“Qianhe is the emblem of the extraordinary achievements made by women in Zhejiang Province. Men and women getting equal pay for equal work largely promoted social development,” said Wu Haiying, vice director of China Women’s Federation.

The venue covers an area of 4,474 square meters with functions of exhibition, convention, public activity and lecture. By far, more than 46,000 people have visited it.

A myriad of archives is on display, ranging from old photos depicting local women with binding foot to modern women at the cutting edge of entrepreneurship.

In ancient times, the so-called zhenjie paifang (贞节牌坊), or chastity archways, were commonly seen in Jiande County. They were built to honor women widowed at a young age but never remarried. In ancient times, widows were not encouraged to get married again when their husband was dead.

Ancient women were often confined to their homes and had no social life, because the feudal society held that women should not have contact with the outside world and should devote themselves to their husbands and children. They were objects belonging to husbands, even after husbands died. Such buildings are considered living proofs of the suppression on women.

In the 1920s, a group of the CPC members established women’s newspapers to call on them to revolt against patriarchal society. Meanwhile, a group of educated women started to organize movements to protect own rights, which evidenced by the exhibits on view.

In 1949, the First National Congress of Women was hosted in Beijing which had been the largest conference ever held for Chinese women in history. To some degrees, it symbolized the official beginning of women’s liberation in China.

Jiande County Women’s Federation encouraged illiterate women to learn written language and girls to enter schools.

In 1951, Jiande County started to transfer the ownership of land from a relatively small number of wealthy owners with extensive land holdings to farmers who worked the land.

The then director of Jiande County Women’s Federation, Hu Caiwei, led women to break the conventional patriarchal conception and made them engage in agriculture production, which largely enhanced labor productivity in rural area and smoothly conducted the land reform.

A group of preeminent women sprang out in growing and harvesting crops across the county. They set good examples for women in Zhejiang Province, making women social pillars in productive activities, which in return promoted their social status.

“Throughout decades, Qianhe women have always been at the frontline of social development. Their spirit should be spread across Zhejiang and motivate more women nowadays. I hope the village could be a window displaying female entrepreneurship in new era,” said Zhang Zhongcan, vice Party secretary of Hangzhou government.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend