Women, Sport and Society in Modern China: Holding up More by Dong Jinxia

By Dong Jinxia

Drawing on chinese language resources hitherto unavailable within the West together with legit records and interviews with most sensible athletes, the writer explores the increase of chinese language large sportswomen and their courting with politics, tradition and society sooner than and through the Cultural Revolution and during China's transition to a marketplace financial system.

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Additional info for Women, Sport and Society in Modern China: Holding up More than Half the Sky (Sport in the Global Society)

Sample text

The number of athletes in various competitions also greatly increased over time. Table tennis provides a good example. 49 Meanwhile, regulations for a national sports competition system and criteria for the ranking of referees50 and athletes51 as well as the standards for sports including swimming and gymnastics—16 events altogether—were published in 1956. With the installation of various sports institutions, a coordinated network of talent identification, testing and nurturing was gradually built up.

This would have been impossible before 1949. The alpinist Pan Duo (born 1938) was one of them: a daughter of peasant slaves from Tibet, she was once a beggar in China after her parents died. When the Chinese Communist Party took control in Tibet in 1951, she became a factory worker, and in 1955 she joined the national mountaineering team. 24 Athletes with working-class backgrounds were, incidentally, prominent elite performers. Of the 92 athletes who qualified, for example, for the 16th Olympic Games in 1956 (which will be discussed more fully later), 27 came from the All China Trade Union that was established in 1949 and was responsible for organising sports activities for factories and enterprises throughout the country.

And what was the impact on elite sportswomen? What influence in general did the Cultural Revolution have on society, women and elite sport? The momentous year of 1979 signalled the onset of the Deng era and the restoration of China to the IOC. The inauguration of economic reform led to radical changes in society in general, and the sports community in particular. Chapter 4 reviews the first decade of economic reform (1979–89) and addresses the following issues: how elite sport evolved in the era of reform; what changes economic reform brought about in both the wider society and the sports community in the 1980s; what impact these changes had on Women, sport and society in modern china 18 women’s social status and women in elite sport; and why Chinese sportswomen excelled in international competitions and then were regarded as national heroines.

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