Remaking China's Public Philosophy and Chinese Women's Liberation

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Considering both significance and limitation of the existing gender perspective, this study views women’s liberation as a comprehensive project and part of the process of China’s democratization by using the prism of “public philosophy” to examine Chinese women’s liberation in a global context. Drawing the lessons from the past four revolutions in modern China, the author asserts that China needs the fifth revolution – remaking China’s public philosophy in order for Chinese women to achieve their full liberation in communist China. The author challenges the conventional Western and Eastern European opinions and refutes the official Chinese gender ideology, arguing that Confucianism is not the source of women’s oppression, Western feminism is not a panacea to women’s liberation, and Marxism cannot be the guiding principle of the Chinese women’s movement. To achieve the ultimate goal of women’s liberation, it is urgent for Chinese women to increase self-consciousness of women’s liberation and promote an independent women’s movement to fight for women’s rights in every aspect of Chinese society by focusing on five keys of women’s liberation. This study will contribute not only to China’s peaceful transition from the communist regime to a democratic one, but also to Chinese women’s liberation in a global context.


“Dr. Jinghao Zhou’s work is fascinating, scholarly, readable, comprehensive and enormously informative. It offers the reader insights into ongoing debates on Chinese women’s studies. It also increases our understanding of women’s issues in past and present party-state regimes. Dr. Zhou presents a unique, bold, well-developed argument and theory, one that highlights the importance of the political as a woman’s issue ... The challenges to Western feminism can be expected to be controversial and generate a debate that we should welcome. This book is a valuable contribution to an important topic, the development of women’s studies in the world’s latest, and one day, largest economic power, China.” – Professor Nanette Funk, The City University of New York

“ ... According to Dr. Zhou, women’s liberation is not just a gender liberation, but it is also an integrated part of China’s modernization and democratization. He stresses that Chinese modernization and democratization are the preconditions for a full Chinese women’s liberation. In his view, Chinese women’s liberation has made considerable progress in economic and social areas, but attained much less achievements in cultural and political areas. At present, China’s command economy has not been fundamentally changed and the Chinese government is not ready to change its political system. China’s public sphere is largely controlled by the Communist Party of China, thus it fundamentally differs from a civil society in the West. In this sense, China has a very limited public sphere for Chinese women to campaign on an independent women’s movement. Dr. Zhou's new vision is very challenging and inspires us to rethink the issue of women’s liberation in the Chinese context ...” Professor He Ping, Wuhan University, China

“ ... Considering both the importance and limitation of the Chinese government, and taking both the significance and limitation of the existing gender perspective into account, Dr. Zhou has opened a new window that enables us to see a landscape of women’s liberation we did not cultivate ... This study will contribute not only to the transition from the communist regime to a Chinese harmonious society, but also to Chinese women’s liberation in a global civil society ...” – (from the Preface) Dr. Xiangqun Chang, London School of Economics and Political Sciences

Table of Contents

Foreword by Nanette Funk
Foreword by He Ping
Preface by Xiangqun Chang
1. Introduction
2. Is the Slogan of Women’s Liberation Still Valid in Present-Day China?
3. Should Confucianism be Responsible for Chinese Women’s Oppression?
4. Is Western Feminism a Panacea for Chinese Women’s Liberation?
5. Can Feminism Marry Marxism?
6. The Resolutions to Women’s Liberation in China
7. Self-Consciousness and Women’s Liberation

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