Marching Women’s History

book feature: The Good Women of China

author: Xinran

Pantheon Books, 2002


One of the first things Deng Xiaoping did to open up China was to open up the airways. Rather than having radio shows that dictated the party line, journalists such as Xinran began exploring new territories, still within dictated parameters but offering a much wider variety of information. As Xinran opened her thoughts to her listeners and gained their trust with her honesty, she began to receive letters from listeners throughout China. The first letter she received was from a young girl imploring Xinran to help a girl who had been kidnapped and chained down so that she couldn’t escape her elderly husband. The 14 year old girl had actually been kidnapped from her family.

Listeners, often female, thought Xinran had no right to intrude upon this situation and in analyzing the women’s’ reactions, Xinran realized how naive and uneducated the women were about matters of sexuality and relationships. She obtained permission to discuss women’s’ issues on the radio and the letters poured into her. The Good Women of China is a result of those letters. Each chapter is a single woman’s tale.

The book’s British publisher has an excerpt of the book, author’s interview and a study guide on their website.

two very different review for the book:

Book Addiction

Ann Skea

The Good Women of China is an adult book that will appeal to older teens.