international women’s day 2006: Chinese women workers in revolt

On China’s highly automated assembly lines, the capitalists prefer to use female labour and even child labour.

This way they get around the much higher cost of the male worker, who is mainly used to perform technical tasks.

Last year in the city of Dongguan in Guangdong province, there was a rebellion among the shoe workers where you might see an entire factory with only 20 percent male workers, and where the majority of women workers are not yet 18 years old. In this rebellion, the women workers acted as the organisers. They agitated to get 20 percent of male workers with them. Their defeat was only because they didn’t have a goal, an explicit political perspective. It was a pure revolt. They are young and rich in rebellious spirit, these young women workers. They suffer the most miserable oppression!

Women in China do not have equal status and since the ’reform and opening policy’ that began 25 years ago the position of women has worsened dramatically. Now prostitution in China is legalised in reality. There are armies of prostitutes – 6 million according to the government – under the control of organised crime. In the countryside, often the woman and the child cannot eat a meal together with the man. The women do the arduous housework, their right to education is being taken away – they are just machines that bear children.

Forced birth control

The most brutal feature of the life of women in China is the reassertion of the patriarchal family through Stalinist methods. The birth control policy means urban families are limited to one child and rural families may have two if the first is a girl. This policy is enforced by a variety of brutal methods including forced abortions. The widespread use of intra-uterine devices (IUD) – the ’coil’ – leads to a variety of problems including gynaecological inflammation and even cancer. In addition, the maximum penalty for violating the birth control laws is the loss of farmland and even the loss of housing. This is the most startling of human crimes!

Some wealthy families can give the local government a bribe, in order to get around the controls on births. Using ultra-sound scans, women are forced to produce a male embryo, on the grounds that the male is the master of the whole community; a male birth is to carry on, to protect the family name, its continuity. This is because of the needs of property – “to be passed on from generation to generation”. Therefore women need to break a system that encourages patriarchal and feudalistic thinking; giving birth to a boy or a girl should be the same!

This is a condemnation of the Chinese Communist Party. Women in China are the lowest of the low. Their role is only to give birth and do the housework for the man as well as provide cheap labour in the fields and the factories. They can be forced to sell their body, as well as pay off a family debt through labour, and sometimes are even sold by parents to criminal gangs.

The victory of the working class will put a stop to these injustices, and through the ideas of real socialism destroy the decayed Chinese patriarchal system! We must strive for socialism and women’s liberation in order to eliminate these relics of class and patriarchal thinking. In order to preserve the environment, to give back to the earth and other living things the right to existence, a democratic workers’ society is a must!

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March 2006