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Lecture 9: Gender, State Socialism, and Capitalism in Contemporary China. 1. “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”: Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms of the 1980s. Decentralisation – greater power given to local government

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1 socialism with chinese characteristics deng xiaoping s economic reforms of the 1980s
1. “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”: Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms of the 1980s
  • Decentralisation – greater power given to local government
  • Special economic zones – China opened up to foreign investment. These zones had few restrictions to encourage growth.
  • Household responsibility system – de-collectivisation; land divided up into private plots; people could choose what to grow and could sell surplus
  • Private businesses allowed to operate
problems with the reforms
Problems with the Reforms
  • Problematic rise in inflation
  • Corruption
  • Civil unrest
  • Increasing disparity of wealth
  • Rapid industrialisation has lead to public health crises

2009 Gini Coefficient Map

(higher number = greater disparity of wealth)

slide7

Tiananmen Square protest

15th April – 4th June 1989

(Left) protesters erected a goddess

of democracy which faced the portrait

of Mao in a mocking way

how have the reforms affected women
How have the reforms affected women?
  • Increased discrimination against women workers (seen as more expensive, less physically strong)
  • Rise in unemployment meant women pressured to leave work
  • Public child-care services closed
  • Women concentrated in low paid work
  • “Beauty premium” problematic due to lack of protection against discrimination
2 sexuality and reproduction
2. Sexuality and Reproduction
  • Only heterosexual marriage is permitted (no same-sex marriage, no civil unions)
  • No laws exist to protect workers against discrimination due to their gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Homosexuality a criminal offense until 1997
  • Considered a mental illness until 2001
  • CCP’s attitude towards homosexuality is the “three nos” (no approval, no disapproval, no promotion)
one child policy
One-Child Policy
  • Implemented in 1979
  • Incentivised (status, consumer goods)
  • Harsh penalties (fines, no rights to schooling/medical care for illegal child, forced abortion, forced sterilization)
  • Dependent on where you live/how many siblings you have/your ethnicity
slide14

Carry out family planning, implement

the basic national policy, 1986

slide16

Opening of 10th National Women’s Congress

Great Hall of the People, Beijing

October 2008

slide17

Women are human beings too. Why should their specific attributes, their interests, their development as a sex, and many other aspects of their womanhood not be important questions? Don’t the interests of women mingle with the ocean of the interests of the people? Shouldn’t women’s rights form part of democratic rights? Why do people just find fault with me when the question of women is raised? ..... Women are not baby-making machines. They are human beings, and as such they must fight for their rights, their interests, and their fulfilment.

(as quoted in Honig and Herschatter’sPersonal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980s, 2007: 310)

slide18

You, being a husband, often get done with work earlier than I, yet you are not willing to enter the kitchen. If you are hungry, you just wait for your wife to come home and cook for you. After dinner, you just get up and leave, as if you were in a restaurant. You never think of touching the dirty clothes in the basket; instead you often complain “I don’t have any clean clothes to wear!” You simply assume that these are all the things for a wife to take care of.....

(as quoted in Honig and Herschatter’sPersonal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980s, 2007: 332)