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China’s Female Revolt

How sexist violence killed the Chinese Dream.

· 12 min read
China’s Female Revolt

Two years ago, Zhang Zirui had an epiphany. While browsing Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter), she happened to stumble upon the account of feminist influencer Lin Maomao. As she scrolled through posts urging women to put their own needs before those of their partners and families, it was as if a door had suddenly swung open in her mind, and a new road lay before her. “For the first time,” she told journalist Wanqing Zhang, “I knew women could live differently.”

Zhang Zirui shaved her head, smashed her cosmetics (“toxic beauty standards”), split up with her violent boyfriend, dropped out of the teacher-training course her parents had mandated for her, and applied to study physics at university (a subject her family had forbidden: “not for girls”). Now she posts aphorisms online, preaching the word to all Zhang Ziruis who suffer in silence: “Tolerance is not a good virtue for women, anger is.”

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