Chairman Mao Wants You to Marry (Or At Least To Move In Together)!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20th, 2011 by amodernselkie

The Li Fengjin: How The New Marriage Law Helped Chinese Women Stand Up comic presents the purportedly true story of Li Fengjin and her quest to escape an arranged marriage. Fengjin is from the country side, and lives in a rural area where it seems that nothing has changed for generations. Her mother is given 20 Dan ( 1 Dan equals approximately 120-160 pounds) of rice when Fengjin is eight as payment for the marriage. Upon marrying her husband, she is constantly beaten, abused, denied food, and verbally insulted until she is forced to run away from home on several occasions to avoid starvation and death. She goes through much trouble to escape her husband with no help from the government. It is only when her husband and a gang of their friends tie her and her romantic interest to two trees and attempt to beat them to death that the CCP interferes.

The CCP functions as a deus ex machina in this story – they descend and bring order to the chaotic feudal structure of Fengjin’s rural hometown. However, what I found interesting was the portrayal of the local cadre. In this story, the cadre, while technically Communist, does not read the laws he is supposed to enforce. Moreover, he continues to let the community deal with problems the way it always has, without any challenge. This is not a positive light the pamphlet is shining on local cadres. What made this catch my attention is that this view of local CCP cadres does not seem to have changed in any real way. In almost every personal account or article I’ve read about China today, most say that local cadres are extremely corrupt and ineffective at enforcing the laws set in place by the CCP. The cadre in this story apologizes, saying “Only after study did I finally understand the bondage woman previously suffered under feudalism. Under the policies of the new democratic movement, we must smash feudalism.” Susan Glosser, ed., Li Fengjin: How the New Marriage Law Helped Chinese Women Stand Up. (Opal Mogus Books, 2005), 29. He is also punished for his role in this saga, though the reader is never told how. How would a cadre in this situation be punished?

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