Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Chiang Ching’s Reactionary Line on the Woman Question

First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 6, February 14, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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China’s “Liberation Army Daily” recently carried an article by Tung Chin of a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army showing how the counter-revolutionary careerist Chiang Ching pretended to be concerned with the emancipation of women to further her dream of becoming a contemporary empress of China.

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For a long time, Chiang Ching travelled around trying to win a popular following by claiming to be a champion of women’s’ rights and “fighting to raise women’s status” and the “emancipation of women.”

Marxism lays bare the class root of the oppression of women. In the old society, the proletariat, including working women, were harshly oppressed by the exploiting classes. Since the beginning of recorded history, they were discriminated against and looked down on as slaves and chattel.

Chairman Mao pointed out: “These four authorities–political, clan, religious and masculine–are the embodiment of the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system, and are the four thick ropes binding the Chinese people, particularly the peasants.”

This clearly states the class root of women’s oppression and also the road to the emancipation of women: abolition of the system of private ownership and overthrow of the exploiting classes and the domination of their ideology.

Working women can win real emancipation only when the proletariat has won victory in the revolution. That is why it is necessary for proletarian women and the women of all other exploited classes to unite with the men of their classes in the fight against the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes.

But Chiang Ching tried to present the question as a struggle of “women” versus “men.” The Marxist teaching, “The greatest productive power is the revolutionary class itself,” in her view was reduced to a biological statement: “Women constitute the most essential part of productive power.” Confusing class alignment with other matters, she was trying to weaken and split the strength of the proletariat.

When Chiang Ching clamored: “Men should give way to women who will take over administration,” it is clear that she meant not the working women but women bourgeois careerists like her who ride roughshod over the laboring people, women as well as men. If such “women” took over “administration,” the working women would suffer again.

Chiang Ching never wearied of talking about “matriarchal society.” “Women managed the home in clan society. State affairs will be managed by women as the productive forces develop.” But the matriarchy is a stage of primitive society when the productive forces were extremely low. Men were hunters and fishermen, but catches were uncertain. Women, as the gatherers of nuts and wild grains and primitive agriculturalists, provided a more reliable source of food, leading to the significant role that women occupied in primitive society.

What meaning did “freedom” have for women in that primitive state of ignorance and daily struggle for physical survival? The dictatorship of the proletariat, which ends the class basis for discrimination against women, opens the road for the complete emancipation of working women. Socialist China has enabled women to stand up politically, economically and culturally.

The ideas of all exploiting classes that men are superior to women and that women are incompetent outside the home are criticized. Women are encouraged to work in all fields and to take initiative. A great number of women cadres are steadily maturing. Women cadres already account for a certain proportion in leading groups at various levels, from the central organs to the grassroots.

There is equal pay for equal work in industry, agriculture and all other fields. Women “hold up half the sky” in the socialist system. Chiang Ching’s purpose in talking glibly about the matriarchy was to negate the great advances that the women of new China have made in less than three decades and to reverse the wheel of history.


Her main theme on this question was “women can also become rulers. There will be empresses even in communist society.” This talk in the name of raising the status of women throws in sharp relief the ambition of the careerist who dreamed of becoming China’s empress. Chiang Ching colluded with Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan in a counterrevolutionary “gang of four” to try to usurp party and state power.

Chairman Mao saw all this and made this criticism: “Chiang Ching has wild ambitions. She wants Wang Hung-wen to be Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and herself to become Chairman of the Party Central Committee.” In a nutshell, Chiang Ching wanted to be chairman of the Party Central Committee to build a “communist society with an empress!”

Chiang Ching ordered more title-roles for women in literary and artistic creation to gain political capital as a “defender of women’s rights.” She likened herself to Wu Tse-tien in the name of talking about the struggle between the Confucianists and legalists and talked glibly that “after the death of Liu Pang (an emperor of the Han dynasty of China over 2,000 years ago), his wife Empress Lu ruled.”

While Chairman Mao was seriously ill and after he passed away, this careerist, obsessed with the notion of becoming an empress, was unable to restrain herself and, together with the others in the “gang of four,” stepped up the tempo of their plots, assumed all kinds of airs and prepared to mount the stage in full regalia.

However, history is inexorable. Chairman Mao said: “In China, since the overthrow of the emperor in 1911 no reactionary has been able to stay in power long.”

The warlord Yuan Shih-kai, with the support of imperialist powers, proclaimed himself emperor, but he died in 1916, having failed. Lin Piao, who put himself under the wing of the Soviet revisionists and attempted to become a puppet emperor of China, died an ignominous death. The latest pretender is Chiang Ching, who attempted to be the “Chinese empress” in the ’70s of the twentieth century.