Soong Ch'ing-ling


China's Women in Our New Long March



Source: Soong Ching Ling, "China's Women in Our New Long March", in China Reconstructs magazine, vol. XXVIII, no. 3 (March 1979); pages 6-7.
Transcription & HTML Markup for Juan Fajardo, January 2022.




THE Fourth National Women's Congress held last September gave a new impetus to the Chinese women's movement and hence to our entire socialist revolution and construction — for as Chairman Mao taught us, “When women all over the country rise up, that will be the day of victory of the Chinese revolution."

It embodied continuity with the heroic past. The main reports were delivered by Deng Yingchao and Kang Keqing, senior women veterans of the epic Long March of the Chinese Red Army in the 1930's[*], both now working vigorously in the new Long March to make China a strong and advanced socialist country by the century's end. Comrade Kang Keqing was elected Chairman of the National Women's Federation.

It was linked to every aspect of China's present-day tasks. Young, middle-aged and old, nearly 2,000 delegates from all spheres of labor and all professions discussed the place of women, and of women's emancipation, in the great fresh effort on which we are now embarked with Chairman Hua Guofeng at the helm.

Women, the most oppressed of the oppressed victims of feudalism and imperialism in old China, always needed revolution. And the revolution of that time needed them. To it they contributed their full share of energy, courage and sacrifice. Its triumph, with the founding of the people's republic, brought them equality of political, economic and social rights — for the first time in our history. In the subsequent stage of socialist revolution and construction, they have again done much and done it well.

Today, as Kang Keqing has well said, “The four modernizations need the women and women need the four modernizations." For without immensely heightened productivity equality of rights cannot be turned into equality in fact, including emancipation from overburdensome domestic and other chores which the many-sided remnants of our country's past backwardness still impose. It is true, many more Chinese women have already come into every branch of production, agricultural and industrial, and of scientific, educational and other occupations. But far from enough. Many times that number are needed in the development of technology and science. To free the myriads eager to enter, the congress called for more and better-run nurseries, sewing, laundry and other services, and for the gradual socialization of household work.


A HUGE task before us is the education of the young. The generation of revolutionary forerunners will not long be among us. That is a law of nature. Who will march forward on the great road they have pioneered? In the coming generation lies our hope.

Two hundred million children are now growing up in China. As the next century dawns, they will be in their prime, the force moving the country to communism. But they have been seriously harmed in various ways by the sabotage and confusion-mongering of the gang of four. All the more is it important that we nurture them into reliable successors in the revolution educate them in communist ideas, temper them in class struggle to be clear-cut in what they uphold and oppose, inspire them with love of labor through early participation in production, imbue them with publicly motivated diligence in study and perseverance in truth-seeing through scientific experiment.

Society, school and family all have the duty to make these youngsters into good builders of the future. In particular, it is an unshirkable obligation for women. As mothers, kindergarten workers, teachers, writers, scientists, our sisters must keep this task always before them. The flowering of a new generation, like a garden in bloom, will be the joyous reward.


MUCH still has to be done in the building of the new family — revolutionary, democratic and harmonious, with men and women equal in the home as well as in society and housework rationally divided between them.

And, finally, public health. After the liberation, mass sanitation campaigns in which everyone participated became a matter of patriotic honor in China, and won worldwide praise. Many model districts, work units and homes which then won red banner awards have continued to hold and deserve them in the decades since. But due to the general wrecking of standards under influence of Lin Biao and the gang of four, there has also been backsliding. Poor sanitation in some neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants, streets and public facilities, has drawn just criticism upon us. Women, in their homes and workplaces, have much to do in seeing that these things are put right. There is an Arabian proverb, “When you educate a man, you educate an individual, but when you educate a woman, you educate the whole family." If we remember this, and act on it, a good part of the problem will be solved, as will an important aspect of children's upbringing as good citizens.

AS women of a socialist land, we think always of our sisters throughout the world who are still exploited, oppressed or menaced by capitalism, imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism. We will do our duty in supporting their struggles, in forging with them a broad international women's united front for the objectives we hold in common.

The normalization of Sino-U.S. relations as of January 1, 1979 is the result of combined efforts of the peoples, including women, of the two countries over the past 30 years. It is the most reliable guarantee for world peace and is welcomed by all peace-loving peoples throughout the world.

Meeting our women of today, my heart rejoices at the high spirit of the old revolutionaries and of the young people just starting on the great road, I myself feel younger. I am determined, in their ranks, to do my part in the new Long March, to build our China into a strong socialist state that contributes more to humanity.




[*] Comrade Deng Yingchao was the comrade-in-arms and wife of the beloved Premier Zhou Enlai, and Kang Keqing of Marshal Zhu De (Chu Teh), who commanded China's people's armies in liberating wars and at the time of his death was Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.