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Crisis of emasculation and the restoration of patriarchy in the fiction of Chinese contemporary male… Fang, Jincai 2004

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THE CRISIS OF EMASCULATION AND THE RESTORATION OF PATRIARCHY IN THE FICTION OF CHINESE CONTEMPORARY MALE WRITERS ZHANG XIANLIANG, MO YAN AND JIA PINGWA by JINCAI F A N G B.A., The Central University of Nationalities, China 1982 M.A. , Oregon State University, U.S.A., 1996 ' A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Comparative Literature Program) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A May 2004 © Jincai Fang, 2004 ABSTRACT This dissertation is about Chinese masculinity. It will raise the issue of Chinese masculinity as it became problematic in the mid-1980s, the first time in the two-thousand-year history of Chinese literature, that problems such as male identity, sexuality, and masculinity were seriously formulated and discussed. This study adopts the methods of a feminist reading and a close reading to reexamine works of three well-known contemporary male writers: Zhang Xianliang, Mo Yan and Jia Pingwa in the ideological/cultural context of the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy during the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s in China. I will provide a detailed and dynamic analysis of how the contemporary male enterprise of reconstructing masculinity heavily relies on women—either by programming women into the author's step-by-step process of reconstructing lost masculinity for the protagonist or by putting women back to their old place prescribed by Confucian patriarchy. By deepening our understanding of Chinese men and women historically, culturally, ideologically and psychologically, and by constructing a dialogue between the past and the present, this study attempts to demonstrate that ideal masculinity in China as defined two thousand years ago is still alive, and serves as a major paradigm of masculinity for modern Chinese intellectuals. The re-examinations of each of the three works will be structured around the following three topics: (1) the major source of men's feelings of powerlessness and feminization (2) the ideological framework from which their ideal concept of masculinity is reconstructed; and (3) how these frameworks establish their gendered position and ii affect their views and feelings toward women; and thus how they program women's roles into the construction or restoration of their masculinity. My research reveals a stable structure to authors' ideals of masculinity consisting of four constant elements: power is the key attribute in defining Chinese masculinity; hierarchy is the structure within which ideal masculinity is constructed and consolidated; the state, (including politics and nationalism), male intellectuals and women are three indispensable, intertwined dimensions within which male intellectuals maneuver to bargain for their masculinity; and the philosophical/ideological past is the inexhaustible source of inspiration and justification for restoring lost masculinity. "1 iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv List of Figures vii Acknowledgment viii CHAPTER I Introduction 1 1. 1 Justification for this Study: The Problem of Masculinity in Chinese Culture 1 1.2 Objectives of the Study 10 1.3 Methodology and Limitations of the Study 16 CHAPTER II Past in the Present: Ideological/Cultural Context of the Resurgence of Confucian Patriarchy during the 1980s and 90s 24 2.1 Ideological/cultural transformation 24 2.1.1 Ideological vacuum 25 2.1.2 Ideological and cultural pluralism 29 2.2 The Revitalization of Confucianism and the Resurgence of Confucian Patriarchy 43 2.2.1 Discrimination against women in the job market 48 2.2.2 A call to go back home 51 2.2.3 The resurgence of "de facto" bigamy/polygamy/coneubinage and prostitution ; 53 2.2.4 Resurrection of patriarchy in popular culture 57 2.2.5 Ever-lasting image—wo men, yin and water 61 2.3 Challenges to masculinity and responses of male intellectual elite 64 2.3.1 Power struggle with the Party-state 65 2.3.2 Power struggle with women 68 iv 2.4 Summary 83 CHAPTER III Zhang Xianliang and Half of Man is Woman 88 3.1 Emasculation and Politics 92 3.1.1 Deprivation of men's sex 93 3.1.2 Desexualized women 96 3.1.3 Deprivation of intellectuals'creativity 98 3.1.4 The whole country is a jail 100 3.1.5 Sexualization of politics and politicization of sex .101 3.2 Confucianism: Nostalgia for Junzi Masculinity 104 3.2.1 Junzi and his descendant shi 104 3.2.2 The ideal traits of masculinity in Half of Man versus moral code for junzi 111 3.2.3 Junzi/xiaoren hierarchy andyin-yang hierarchy 117 3.3 Woman's Position in Man's upward Journey to a Higher Social Order 130 3.3.1 Woman, I cannot go without you before I become a "real man" 132 3.3.2 Woman, I cannot go with you any longer after I become a "real man"—Pretexts for divorce 144 3.3.3 A covert shift-of the theme from "political oppression" to "family/women oppression" 153 3.3.4 Silencing female voices 160 3.3.5 Women—water—yin 165 3.4 Summary 168 CHAPTER IV Mo Yan and Red Sorghum 172 4.1 . Emasculation and Civilization 176 4.1.1 Heroic and bastard dogs 179 4.1.2 Corrupted "pet-rabbits" 182 , 4.2 Anti-Intellectualism: Nostalgia for Primitive Peasant Masculinity 187 4.2.1 Violent and brutal haohan: subversion of the orthodox paradigm of masculinity 191 4.2.2 The sublimation of death 201 v 4.2.3 Fighting the Japanese 206 4.2.4 Historical/cultioral/geographical attributes for nourishing big men of Shangdong Dahan 210 4.3 Woman's Position in Man's Return from Culture to Nature 217. 4.3.1 Masculinizing female characters 218 4.3.2 Failure to transcend patriarchy 228 4.4 Summary 243 CHAPTER V JiaPingwa and The Abandoned Capital 246 5.1 Emasculation and Commercialization 248 5.1.1 Culture shock—a torrential wave of commercialization 250 5.1.2 The responses of intellectuals to commercialization 257 5.1.3 The complex of emasculation 261 5.2 Daoism and Confucianism: Nostalgia for the Caizi Jiaren Masculinity 268 5.2.1 Caizi jiaren romance and Capital 274 5.2.2 Masculinity in the caizi jiar en framework 285 5.2.3 Where does Zhuang Zhidie's masculinity come from? 304 5.3 Woman's Position in Man's Downward Journey of Marginalization 311 5.3.1 The representation of women in Capital 311 5.3.2 In man's journey, where is woman positioned? 334 5.3.3 A Men's fantasy—about the chivalrous woman, "xianii" Ah Can 338 5.4 Summary 343 CHAPTER VI Conclusion 346 Bibliography 364 VI LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 1. The symbolic journey of Chinese male intellectuals from the mid-1980s to mid-90s....347 2. The social hierarchy as it appeared in Half of Man and Capital. 352 vn ACKNOWLEDGEMENT When I wrote the acknowledgement for my Master thesis, I understood the purpose was to routinely show my appreciation for those who supported my writing in one way or another. Now in writing this acknowledgement for my dissertation, I feel very special and strong feelings welling up from the bottom of my heart. I would like to begin by thanking Professor Sneja Gunew, the Director of the Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations at the University of British Columbia. When I was feeling a sense of hopelessness, it was Professor Gunew who stood up and took firm action to rescue my research. She removed roadblocks that obstructed my journey and threatened my future, and then carefully reorganized a new committee. Without her whole-hearted and strong support, I would not have been able to recover the confidence to finish my writing, and my long-term program definitely would have been aborted. My thanks also go to Dr. Tineke Hellwig, the Chair of the Women's Studies Program and Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. After my transfer to Comparative Literature, she assumed the responsibility of being my new supervisor. I was deeply impressed and touched by her responsible attitude in supervising my thesis and her solicitous care for me. Her wonderful service went far beyond her responsibilities as my supervisor. She spent several hours on long-distant phone calls to correct and improve the draft of my thesis. In order to keep me on schedule, she also helped to make my draft thesis available to other committee members. vin I also wish to express my sincere and special appreciation to Dr. Wendy Larson, the Associate Dean of Humanities and Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Oregon. She gave me her whole-hearted support to help me get out of the impasse with my old committee. Her administrative work did not allow her to take any new Ph D~students, or even to be a committee member. However, having realized that I ran into roadblocks in locating a qualified professor with expertise in Chinese modern literature and feminist literary criticism, she made an exception and joined my-.-committee. Professor Larson actually served as my co-supervisor together with Professor Hellwig. She carefully read two long drafts and provided very insightful comments that were not only helpful for improving the quality of my dissertation, but also for my future research and career. She missed no chance to encourage me, and I know that I will benefit from her advice the rest of my life. I am also indebted to Dr. Helen Hok-Sze Leung at the Department of Women's Studies, Simon Fraser University, and-Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh at Women's Studies and Asian Studies, University of British Columbia for kindly and responsibly serving as committee members. These four committee members contributed to an ideal working environment. Their comments on my draft and their insights spurred my inspiration. Additionally, I would like to thank Professor Ann Rose, the Associate Dean of Faculty of Graduate Studies (UBC), Dr. Steven Taubeneck, Chair of Comparative Literature Program (UBC), Teresa Jones, the Coordinator of Doctoral Examinations at Faculty of Graduate Studies (UBC), Joshua Caulkins, the Vice President of Graduate Student Society (UBC), Professor Richard J. Smith of the Department of History and IX Asian Studies Program at Rice University (U.S.A), and Assistant Professor Song Geng of Chinese Literature and Cultural Studies at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). A l l of them not only showed their understanding and sympathy for my situation, but also took action to support me in one way or another. Most of all, I wish to express my deep gratitude to my husband, John A. Young for his enduring and unconditional help and support. During my most difficult time in negotiating my transfer and reorganizing a new committee, my husband assumed multiple roles as my real supervisor, editor, logistical service provider, personal consultant and emotional supporter. I cannot imagine going through the difficulties I experienced without his deep love and support. x Chapter I Introduction 1.1 Justification for this Study: The Problem of Masculinity in Chinese Culture During the mid-1980s, the "search for real men" became one of the predominant concerns in both intellectual discourse and popular culture in Mainland China. In 1985, a female youth, pen-named Shuizhu TKft (water bamboo), wrote an article in Zhongguo qingnian ^ S (China Youth), issue 2 entitled "Dao na'er qu zhao Gaocang Jian? 3\ fPAitfcrtH^i? " (Where Can We Find Takakura Ken?) Takakura Ken (1931-)1 is a Japanese movie star very popular among Chinese movie viewers during the 1980s. His performances soon made him an idol with the image of a "real man" among young Chinese females (Two other borrowed "real man" images from America and France were Sylvester Stallone and Alain Delon). The implication of searching for "Takakura Ken" is apparent—there were no real men in China, as Chinese men had become feminized or emasculated. The author, Shui Zhu, raised this issue with one of her female friends. "She replied in a strong and stirring tone: 'Chinese men have degenerated!'" (Shui Zhu 1985, 21). In the mid-1980s while Chinese female writers searched for "real men", a female friend of L i Xiaojiang ^ dN TL 2 decided to go abroad for further education. She 1 Takakura Ken's real name is Oda Goichi. His given name means 'tough one'—a typical masculine name in many cultures. 2 L i Xiaojiang (1951-) is among a few famous scholars of women studies in China now. Her major publications include: Xiawa de Tansuo WJ&tfa^'M (Eve's Exploration), Hunan renrnin chubanshe, 1988; Guanyu niiren de wenda ^T^cAfKl I R ] ^ (Questions and Answers about Women), Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe, 1997; Jiedu niiren M i ^ i c A (Decoding women), Gaoxiong: Hongwenguan tushu gongsi, 2002. 1 concluded that there was no a real man in China and wanted to find one in the West (Li Xiaojiang 1997, 198-199). Social awareness of the problem of manhood in China first became evident at the beginning of the 1980s after the Chinese Women's Volleyball Team won the final match of the 1981 World Cup. This achievement marked China's entry into the world scene after the long-term isolation of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). It was the result of performance by Chinese athletics rather than diplomatic efforts made during the 1970s.3 The point is that it was women, not men who pioneered this entry into the world by winning a championship on the sports field—one of the most masculine domains of social life according to the traditional viewpoint in many cultures.4 In addition there were numerous victories by Chinese sportswomen in other international sports events and great achievements by Chinese women from all walks of life. During those times media reports of the successes of Chinese women frequently brought complex feelings to Chinese men. On the one hand they were thrilled by and proud of their fellow countrywomen; on the other hand they felt uneasy and worried. In Tani Barlow's terms: "men panicked" (1994, 350). Lu Tonglin also points out: "...men who used to monopolize every social profession except for prostitution feel threatened by the competition of the other 'half of the sky' 5 which was invisible in society for thousands years of Chinese history" (1993a, 7). Yinsheng yangshui PJjJflfcPB^ (the yin waxes and yang wanes, or the feminine rises President Nixon of the United States visited China during February 21 to 28, 1972. After Twenty-three years of no communication, Nixon became the first American president in history to set foot on Chinese soil and the communications between China and Western countries commenced. 4 For Chinese sportswomen's achievements and their influence on Chinese public culture, see Susan Brownell's "Strong Women and Impotent Men: Sports, Gender, and Nationalism in Chinese Public Culture", in Mayfair Mei-hui Yang, 1999, 207-31. 5 This comes from Mao Zedong's well-know slogan: "Women can hold half of the sky." 2 and the masculine declines) became a common phrase known to everybody and heard everywhere in Mainland China. Along with this debate a strong "Northwestern Wind" (xibeifeng i5:|fcjxl) blew onto the music scene in China. In contrast to the "soft, effeminate music" (mimizhiyin M Mi-'s) represented by songs imported from Hong Kong and Taiwan which had dominated the post-Cultural Revolution music scene, the songs of the "Northwestern Wind" focused on the landscape of northwest of China and promoted the spirit of roughness, toughness and virility. In filrnmaking, a number of popular movies labeled "Chinese Cowboy Movies" (zhongguo niuzaipian ^ 13 ^ ffii") or "Chinese Western Movies" {zhongguo xibupian ^ HiSBPJT"), such as "Yellow Earth" (Huang TudiMi. iik), and "Old Well" (Lao Jing 3k¥v), exemplified the same trend. These stories were set against the background of physically rugged landscape of Western part of China, and demonstrated the arduous lives of peasants, their strong will and steadfast struggle for existence from generation to generation. Zhang Yimou ^SiS, the most famous Fifth Generation filmmaker 6 and the most representative director of "Chinese Western Movies" won the Golden Bear Prize at the 1988 Berlin International Film Festival for his Chinese-Western style film "Red Sorghum" (Honggaoliang lOIifFilK). The very theme of this film celebrates the "true masculinity of the Chinese male."7. Critics find in the 6 "China's college entrance examination system had been suspended during the 'cultural revolution' (1966-76) until 1978. Once colleges re-opened, a group of educated urban youths who had been working in the countryside were admitted to the Beijing Film Academy. After four years' study, the new graduates unleashed their innovative powers and went on to create movies famous not only in China, but throughout the world. Movie critics and theorists have named these award-winning film school graduates of the early 1980s 'fifth-generation film makers.' Among the most famous are Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige I5£0llfc, Tian Zhuangzhuang E'tirtt and Wu Ziniu jk^^r" (Tang Yuankai: "The Fifth-Generation Film Makers." China Today, Vol. 49, No. 1 January, 2000, pp. 58-61.) 7 Zhang Yimou also dealt with the theme of dysfunctional masculine sexuality in his film Judou MsL. 3 celebration of the male body in the film Red Sorghum a life-affirming remasculinization of language and ethos (Yang 1999, 52). Actors such as Tang Guoqiang 013® 8 labeled by audiences as naiyou xiaosheng ^^ 'h^fe . (lit. a creamy young man, meaning a young man having a smooth face and behaving softly) previously popular with a great number of Chinese girls, rapidly lost their appeal and suffered, tremendously from being marginalized from the center of the screen as ideal men. In literature, the responses to this discursive theme of masculinity were various. Some male writers, such as Liu Heng ^LltM, Gu Hua rS"^, Wang Shuo 3ifM, were obsessed with male impotency, emasculation and anti-heroic and good-for-nothing characterization of men; others such as Zhang Xianliang j^'jft^, Jia Pingwa Gu Hua endeavored to reassert or restore masculinity understood in and promoted by traditional gender discourse; some "roots-seeking" writers traced the origin of Chinese masculinity back to primitive cultures; a few such as Mo Yan and Wang Xiaobo 3E. experimented with avant-garde approaches to transcend the traditional patriarchal framework in their reconstruction of a new masculinity. The anxiety among male writers and literary critics about their male identity is indicative of the problematic nature of the Chinese discourse on masculinity and sexuality. For the first time in the two-thousand-Tang Guoqiang is a Chinese movie star. Because of his handsome appearance and many effeminate roles he played in movies before the mid-1980s, such as "Xiaohua, (Little Flower, 1979) and "Kongque Gongzhu, ? L ^ ^ i " (Princesses Peacock, 1982), he became a well-known "naiyouxiaosheng" (handsome young man as soft as cream) in China. Under the'heavy pressure of a nationwide call for "real" and "tough" men, Tang struggled doggedly to get rid of this notorious badge of "naiyou xiaosheng". He insisted on playing the role of a young political instructor in the army sent to the China-Vietnam war in "Gaoshan xia de huahuan, iijLuTlWW" (Garlands at the Foot of the Mountain, 1984) directed by Xie Jin i$f gf, a most famous director in China before Zhang Yimou came to prominence. This movie became a turning point for Tang Guoqiang's movie image. From then onward, audiences have accepted Tang as a "tough man". Now he is still active and popular on the screen. 4 year history of Chinese literature, problems such as male identity, sexuality, and masculinity were seriously formulated and discussed. Michael A . Messner has an interesting observation on similar male anxieties in the 1980s' in American society. He notes that a slogan of "No Fear" seemingly appeared everywhere—on baseball caps, T-shirts, and bumper stickers displayed by boys and young men. ...that you don't see hundreds of thousands of people massed in the streets chanting for peace unless you already have war. And you don't have a whole generation of young males publicly proclaiming that they have 'No Fear' unless there's something actually scaring the crap out of them (Messner 1997, xiii). Borrowing from his inference to characterize male anxieties in the mid-1980s in China, we may conclude that Chinese males would not be preoccupied with reclaiming their masculinity unless their masculinity had already been lost. Male feelings of emasculation were intensified by the sudden arrival of a wave of commercialism and rapid modernization in the 1990s, which I will describe more thoroughly in the following chapter. Etymologically, the English word "emasculation" is related to castration in that "it also means to 'out'—that is, to cut out—the male member: 'to castrate, to move the testicles o f " (Ross 2002, 311). Gary Taylor traces the evolution of "emasculation" back to the seventeenth century. The English word "emasculation" (and related forms) is from Latin "emasculare", derived from the noun for "diminutive male" and later transferred into English. "The verb unman, in the medical sense 'castrate,' is first recorded in 1610" and "emasculation" was first recorded in 1623 with the meaning "gelding of a man". The most common English word related to "emasculation" until the twentieth century would have been "geld" (Taylor 2000, 12). At 5 the present, Ross contends: ".. .emasculation becomes a metaphor for itself, as it comes to signify any practice that diminishes the potency of men in the family or in society more generally." Such practice is "to deprive of masculine strength or vigor; to weaken; to make effeminate" (2002, 311). To summarize the scholarly definitions, the word "emasculate" has at least three different but interrelated meanings: 1. Remove the testicles of a male; its synonyms in this sense include: castrate, geld, demasculinize. 2. Having unsuitable feminine qualities; its adjective synonyms in this sense include: effeminate, sissy, etc.; similar words include unmanly, unmanful and unmanlike. 3. Deprive of strength or vigor. "Emasculation" used in this dissertation will contain all three meanings. I will not elaborate on the. subtle distinction between emasculated and feminized, or between feminized and unmanful, etc. While I collected data on this topic, many questions came across my mind: Why did the emasculation crisis. and male anxiety become predominant themes during the 1980s and '90s? What distinguishes masculinity and the emasculation crisis in Chinese modernist discourse and why? What do male fictional writers who deal with emasculation, castration, or manliness want to tell us? If emasculation is real, then what are factors causing it? The question of most interest to me is: what are the ideal paradigms of masculinity for these literary men as they try to restore their lost masculinity? While I focus on these questions, I have discovered that it does not matter what formal positions male intellectuals take in terms of their gender views, these elite have one thing in common: rather than alienating themselves from or rebelling against patriarchal ideology, their "new" male discourse on masculinity/sexuality in the 1980s 6 and '90s has intimate links to Confucian patriarchal discourse. Rather than seeking new paradigms in order to adjust themselves to a changing situation as Mo Yan attempted in Red Sorghum and Wang Xiaobo in The Golden Age (Huangjin Shidai J f^zf r t f t ) , resistance to change among male intellectuals is evident. This shared resistance is clearly revealed in their casual daily conversations, essays, speeches and articles written about women and gender (I will give examples in the following chapter), and in their representation of female characters as they elaborate on their problematic manhood and seek to restore their ideal masculinity. Yi-ts.i Mei Feuerwerker, in examining the assertion of "brutal masculine power" in post-Mao fiction, draws this conclusion: In the process of rejecting their own 'feminization' by the Party and reasserting themselves as masculine subjects, male writers in the past two decades have fallen back on misogyny, returning women to their old status as inferior'others'" (1998, 217). This is not a phenomenon that emerged in China only. Some anthropologists of the United States who went to Tajikistan found "a disturbing trend emerging where, women are being pushed back into 'traditional' roles." "Women during Soviet times were... amazingly well educated." They "could become lawyers, doctors, whatever their aptitude dictated." "Since the Soviet Union has gone away, we're finding the patriarchal society emerging quite strongly in the family and leaking out into educational systems and government for sure." (Demyan 2003, 7) Michael A. Messner observes that there was a similar trend in the US in the 1980s and 1990s for male organizations to express their need for "empowerment" by putting 7 women down. He raises the possibility that all gains made by feminism might be lost. He points out: The result, I fear, might be that as men organize to assuage their own fears, they collectively position women, especially feminists, as convenient scapegoats. In restoring men to their own 'rightful place,' they put women back in theirs. In the process, the impressive (though partial) gains made by the women's movement in the past 30 years are at risk of being turned back (Messner 1997, xiv). Messner's insight helps to justify my study. In China the crisis of masculinity evoked a less obvious response. Chinese men did not organize themselves publicly in a quest for "empowerment", but their obsession with empowerment is clearly expressed in male literature. I have chosen this topic because I feel that something vital was missing from the works of many influential male writers in post-Mao literature in the decade between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s regarding men, masculinity," sexuality, gender relations and social changes. There was apparently no continuous legacy from the May Fourth Movement where male writers such as Lu Xun #5k, Mao Dun W-M, Ba Jin E jfe and Rou Shi f^ 'iEi" made collective and conscious efforts in attacking patriarchal ideology,9 and where "The sympathetic portrayal of female suffering, of course, constitutes a major subject of May 4th writing" (Brown 1988, 63). 1 0 In the past two decades male writers 9 David Wang has examined feminist consciousness in the works of Chinese male writers. His article, published in 1989, analyzes works of several male writers from Mainland China and Taiwan, but none of these male writers is from the post-Mao literature in the Mainland after 1980. See David Der-wei Wang: "Feminist Consciousness in Modern Chinese Male Fiction" in Modern Chinese Women Writers: Critical Appraisals, ed. by Michael S. Duke. Armonk, New York & London, England: M. E. Sharpe, Inc. 1989. Pp. 236-256. 1 0 Many feminist scholars question the nature of women's liberation during the May Fourth Movement. For example, Lu Tonglin believes that Chinese women "have been used as signifiers for one type of revolution or another" starting with the May Fourth Movement (1993a, 10). Carolyn Brown shares a similar view: "In made no sincere attempt to accord equal treatment to women as human beings. They did not acknowledge the fruits of women's liberation in China, a century-long struggle by both intellectuals and commoners, by both the Party-government and civil society, and by both men and women. M y argument is that gender roles in China have changed economically and socially, but remain fundamentally unchanged ideologically and psychologically in the mindset of male writers. The power to control the public discourse is still firmly held by this patriarchy-oriented elite, and their treatment of a man's inner life and his perspective on how to be a man remains psychologically and ideologically stunted. I will provide evidence in my studies on works by male writers where women are not recognized as men's equals, and still occupy or are expected to revert back to a subordinate position. I will also provide evidence in the following chapter to show that the critics of these works ignore the psychology of women to the extent that it remains completely unexamined. This is by no means a rare phenomenon existing only in literary circles, "...the glorious and splendid history of China is a record of Father, and a history of Son inheriting Father's cause." (Meng & Dai 1993, 27) "Women are missing" (niiren diushi le jfcAfl^T) in Chinese historiography and philosophy, and women are rarely portrayed as agents of social change (Li Xiaojiang 1997, 240). What interests me the most is not merely identifying and commenting on a number of male issues, but rather examining the dominant perspectives on masculinity and femininity in works of male writers. I will explore what has become of the relations the May Fourth era as in earlier times, sympathetic male depictions of female suffering did not necessarily imply male willingness to give up gendered hegemony" (1988, 63). Dorothy Ko argues "the victimized woman became the symbol of the Chinese nation itself, meaning the issue of women's liberation was integrated as a part of nationalism. (Ko 1994, 1-2). My argument is that although the nature of women's liberation during the May Fourth era is problematic, it is the first time in China's history that the issue of the victimization of women was brought to light and seriously discussed. It is doubtless an important and 9 of Chinese male intellectuals with women, what kinds of images o f men and women they consciously seek to portray as they cope with the problems of masculinity, sex, sexuality and potency, and how the legacy of Confucian patriarchy is at work as they elaborate their ideal masculinities and femininities. I wil l examine the gender ideology of these writers horizontally and vertically. By horizontal examination, I mean I wil l explore the links between their gender perspectives and patriarchal gender concepts in popular culture and intellectual discourses of the same time period. By vertical examination, I mean I wil l explore the links between the gender ideologies o f these writers and the patriarchal tradition of China. For analytic purposes, the past and the present, and the elite culture and the popular culture sometimes have to be dichotomized. In reality, they are intertwined; they overlap, and even merge in many ways. 1.2 Objectives of the Study As outlined above, this study is about Chinese men—their emasculation complex and their ideal masculinities—and about Chinese women—the women depicted in male fiction. M y primary objective is to make my own contribution to studies of Chinese masculinity, simply because this is a newly opened academic field—a field that is burgeoning and needs pioneering work. I hope that my study can make an insightful contribution. Contrary to the hubbub generated about problematic masculinity in the intellectual and popular discourses of the mid-1980s, scholarly work devoted exclusively significant step to formulate a feminist discourse. In this sense, I advocate the continuation of the May Fourth legacy with its feminist concern in the direction of women's real equality with men. 10 to Chinese masculinity was conspicuously absent. Brownell and Wasserstrom observe, "The major monographs and surveys on gender, as well as document collections pertaining to gender, that appeared prior to the 1990s tended as well to pay little attention to masculinity" (2002, 3). Social awareness in both intellectual and popular discourses of the problem of manhood during the 1980s therefore did not lead to theoretical enthusiasm for the same subject. Therefore, Chinese masculinity has remained as "the much-discussed, but little researched" topic.1 1 Only recently a few researchers, most of whom are Western-educated ethnic Chinese, have started opening up this new field of feminist studies in Chinese context and publishing their works in English. By 2002, there existed only three scholarly books on Chinese masculinity published in English. 1 2 When I started working on this subject in 2000, I found no comprehensive survey or substantial case analysis on Chinese masculinity either in Western or in Mainland Chinese scholarship. Some writers in Taiwan started scrutinizing the problems of Chinese masculinity before 2000. For example, Sun Longji's # f ^ S Wei duannai de minzu ^Hf?%#J ^Wk (A People not yet Weaned) is a scholarly work in Chinese published in Taiwan in 1995. He focuses on cultural psychology and applies a cross-cultural approach to contrast Chinese masculinity and American masculinity, providing many insights on this subject. However he attributes the problematic nature of Chinese masculinity exclusively to "Motherism", " Wendy Larson, personal communication while doing this research (Jan. 2004). 12 ' These three books are: (1) Zhong Xueping. 2000. Masculinity Besieged?: Issues of Modernity and Male Subjectivity in Chinese Literature of the Late Twentieth Century. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. (2) Louie, Kam. 2002. Theorising Chinese Masculinity: Society and Gender in China. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. (3) Brownell, Susan and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom. 2002.: A Reader, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of Californis Press. Louie, Kam and Morris Low's (ed.) Chinese and Japanese Masculinities. (London: Routledge.) and Song Geng's The Fragile Scholar: Power and Masculinity in Chinese Culture are (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press) forthcoming by the end of 2003. These works are about two decades later than the popular discourse on masculinity/emasculation that emerged in the 1980s. 11 or a mama's boy complex in the mindset of Chinese men, a kind of reductionist interpretation. In 2000 not too long after I started my research, Zhong Xueping's Masculinity Besieged was published—the first scholarly work in English that stimulated my interest in this subject. Zhong interweaves the problematic nature of Chinese masculinity with issues of modernity and modernization, and she analyzes several fictional works by Chinese male writers. Kam Louie observes, "This book concentrates on the psychological state of men who feel 'besieged' in post-Mao China" (2002, 3). However, this book lacks sense of history because the author does not attempt to connect men's anxieties to past tradition, which might help account for their feelings of besieged masculinity. Two years later, Kam Louie dealt with this issue in his breakthrough book, Theorising Chinese Masculinity (2002). He turned to Chinese history and conducted a broad survey on both orthodox and unorthodox traditions, formulating a "wen-wu ~3C jKi" (cultural attainment-martial valor) paradigm that underpins Chinese masculinity. His paradigm revises most Western analyses of Asian masculinity that heavily rely on the yin-yang[3 dichotomy. In his theorizing about Chinese masculinity, Kam Louie does take women into account by dedicating one chapter to "Women's Voice". His focus on how women view men as objects of desire (Louie 2002, 98-118) in women's literature is different than mine. Susan Browness and Jeffrey Wasserstrom's book, as the title Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities (2002) suggests, is not dedicated exclusively to the subject of Chinese masculinity. The most distinctive characteristic of this book is its organization. "Its structure takes the form of a series of two-chapter parts, each of which 1 3 The yin-yang dialectic is an ontological model of cosmology, a cornerstone for the whole complex of ancient Chinese philosophy. I will discuss Confucianized^/n-^awg dichotomy in the following chapter. 12 begins with an essay that focuses on women and ends with one that focuses on men" (Brownell and Wasserstrom 2002, 22). The editors purposely elaborate on how . understandings of masculinity changed whenever a shift occurred in understandings of femininity, or vice versa. The two parts in each chapter provide a comparison, or contrast by indirect relationship. A l l the above authors/editors have done an extraordinary job of exploring Chinese masculinity from different perspectives that will build a solid foundation for the continued examination of Chinese masculinity. Where is my position in this burgeoning field? As I mentioned previously, my study will examine men's emasculation complex horizontally (high culture versus popular culture and individual writer versus collective consciousness), and vertically (past versus present). Instead of working out a paradigm to underpin Chinese masculinity as Kam Louie did successfully, I attempt to analyze variations in contemporary male writings using a traditional paradigm of masculinity, and particularly to identify constant elements that Chinese male intellectuals habitually embrace to reconstruct their masculinity within different ideological frameworks. In addition, my close reading of post-Mao fiction will provide a detailed and dynamic analysis of how men and women are inseparably intertwined, not indirectly related as in Brownell and Wasserstrom's book, and not as mutual objects of desire in Kam Louie's sense. I will demonstrate how the contemporary male enterprise of reconstructing masculinity heavily relies on women—a conspicuous difference from traditional paradigms such as junzi Mir (refined man) masculinity and haohan (good fellow) masculinity in Kam Louie's paradigm. I show how one particular author programs a woman (the female character) in his step-by-step project of reconstructing the lost masculinity of his protagonist, and for all authors I 13 analyze, how women are placed as gatekeepers in a horizontal zone between the two fundamentally different worlds of men. To achieve this goal, a close reading and detailed analysis of the texts are required. It is impossible to examine in close detail a great number of works written by members of the contemporary Chinese male intellectual elite in this dissertation. I must choose representative writers. My analysis will focus on three novels: Nanren de yiban shi niiren J§ A ^ I ^ ^ T E ^ A (Half of Man is Woman) by Zhang Xianliang, Hong gaoliang jiazu I I ( R e d Sorghum) by Mo Yan and Feidu Jg£$S (The Abandoned Capital) by Jia Pingwa. My reasons for selecting these three as representative of contemporary male writers are: (1) A l l three writers are regarded as successful icons in contemporary Chinese literature and have earned an international reputation for their works. As successful writers, they are influential "cultural producers" who "hold a specific power, the properly symbolic power of showing things and making people believe in them..." (Thakur 1997, 24) (2) A l l have dealt with issues of masculinity, sex, sexuality, and emasculation in their works; (3) A l l have stirred up national controversy and created hot debates about their ways of depicting sex and sexuality. In these debates the supremacy of the male voice remains unchallenged, regardless whether critiques of these novels are favorable or unfavorable; (4) A l l depict heterosexuality and reveal attitudes toward the objects (women) of their male protagonists' sexuality; and (5) Most importantly all three male writers subconsciously, or consciously, embraced a patriarchal framework while they endeavored to reconstruct their male potency and masculinity. Mo Yan tried to be the exception by using an avant-garde approach to transcend the traditional paradigm of masculinity and femininity, but he partially failed. 1 include Mo Yan in my dissertation 14 not simply to provide another example parallel to Zhang Xianliang and Jia Pingwa. My primary purpose is to provide a contrast. Although he failed in some respects to transcend patriarchy, Mo Yan inveighed against the social hierarchy that continuously kept peasants at the bottom of society, and conducted an unconventional exploration of ideal masculinities and femininities to reshape the social images of peasants. The differences among the three writers are revealed in their concepts of ideal masculinity. Zhang Xianliang's protagonist identifies himself with the intellectual elite, as a descendant of the shi dr (scholar-official) class in Chinese history, and is obsessed with the junzi (gentlemen) masculinity promoted by Confucianism. Jia Piangwa.'s protagonist shows a close affiliation to both Daoism and Confucianism. However he illustrates his ideal masculinity in a caizi jiaren ^ -ft A (gifted scholar and beautiful ladies) paradigm, which is a subcategory of the Confucian junzi discourse. Mo Yan challenges the very notion of masculinity associated with intellectuals, demonstrating a strong anti-intellectual sentiment. He celebrates a savage, or brutal machismo exhibited in "primitive" peasant society. His ideal masculinity bears a clear mark of haohan (real good men) tradition in Chinese folklore and traditional literature of outlaws. This dissertation is divided into six chapters. Chapter Two sets out the cultural and ideological context for examining three male writers. It will reveal a dynamic and chaotic picture of ideological/cultural transformation in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s from which I will attempt to show that the revival of Confucianism, and its accompanying Confucian patriarchy, in academic circles, social practice and popular culture provided a suitable political/cultural climate in which Chinese male intellectuals could attempt to reclaim their lost masculinity by embracing Confucian patriarchy. The 15 following three chapters will consist of three case studies structured around the following three topics: (1) the major source of men's feelings of powerlessness and emasculation; (2) the ideological framework from which their ideal concept of masculinity is reconstructed; and (3) how these frameworks establish their gendered position and affect their views and feelings toward women; and thus how they program women's roles into the construction or restoration of their masculinity. Chapter Six wil l present and discuss major findings in this study. Readers will be briefly informed about these findings at the end of Chapter Two. 1.3 Methodology and Limitations of the Study In this study, I will adopt two "readings"—feminist reading and close reading. A feminist reading is the platform I choose for examining the three novels. I chose this method based on the question frequently raised by contemporary feminists, and by myself too, "What i f women were to read male texts through the experiences of women, not of men?" (Brown 1988, 62) However, I have no intention to involve myself in the debate seeking for answers to this question. M y concern is how to take advantage of feminist literary criticism to bring to light the missing parts in male-centered discourse. I understand feminism as women's quest for equal rights with men in all aspects of social and domestic life—economic, political, social, and personal spheres. Feminism starts from the premise that inequalities exist between the sexes and demands a shift in power relations between the sexes. Thus, feminism has shown "a sensitivity to oppression in all of its forms", "a strong egalitarian and anti-elitist element", and "an exploration 16 of ...hierarchical, authoritarian, elitist, patriarchal, and exploitative elements in society" (Lowe & Benston 1992, 49). In my feminist reading, I will tightly focus on these basic but very crucial issues of feminism. Feminism in the West has already experienced three waves of change and has been integrated partially with postmodernism and post-colonialism. Readers who are enthusiastic about using postmodernist and post-colonialist terminology might not be satisfied in reading this dissertation for they will find little of it here. But readers should keep in mind that the concept of post-colonialism is founded on social, political, economic and cultural practices that arise in response and resistance to colonialism. The core value of post-colonialism, as I understand it, is to listen carefully to real voices from developing, so-called "Third World" countries and marginalized social groups. Post-colonialism should not ironically turn into a new "colonialism" and a new universalized discipline to monopolize an enormous and remarkably disparate critical territory..I raise this issue not only to defend my critical method, but also because of my concern about the tendency of "colonization" and "self-colonization" in Sinology. On the one hand, Western scholarship becomes the standard (including the currently prevailing postmodernism and post-colonialism) by which research on Chinese culture should be judged and evaluated. As Brownell and Wasserstrom state, "Although excellent and influential scholarship by native Chinese has been produced in the areas of literary and film criticism, and insightful novels and films have been produced by Chinese artists, European and American voices still seem to predominate in social and cultural history and cultural anthropology" (2002, 23). On the other hand, Western-educated Chinese researchers try their best to be westernized, or to allow themselves to be colonized. Following their predecessors at the beginning of the last century, they use their colonized 17 approaches to re-examine cultures in which they used to live. "In other words, they made native tradition an internal other within a localized 'Western' discourse" (Barlow 1991, 213). Tani Barlow terms this trend as "self-colonization" (ibid, 224). I am not suggesting that theories and disciplines developed in the West are not meaningful in examining Chinese culture. My position is that as a researcher, I must choose a theory (or theories) and critical method judicially to facilitate my presentation of the existential condition of the culture I study, rather than going in the opposite direction to examine cultural and literary phenomena in order to prove an existing theory and justify a critical method. I will emphasize two important points about Chinese culture and Chinese feminism. First, although China was colonized for a period of time, it has never had a history where foreign (let alone colonial) influence became the dominant ideology in its mainstream discourse. The power of the traditional ideology represented by Confucianism goes far beyond normal expectations. It not only survived, but also conquered the cultures of the ruling class under two minority regimes during the Yuan Mongolian (1279-1368) and Qing Manchu (1644-1911) dynasties.14 It also survived radical revolutionary attacks in the May Fourth movement and the communist movement. This reality is the basis for Chinese scholar Jin Guantao skMW in developing the concept of "deep structure" and his theory of "the ultrastable system" of Chinese culture.1 5 For example, the traditional concept of Western Sinology about' Chinese masculinity is that Chinese men are feminized. However^ in Mainland China, men and women were not concerned with this Western gaze on Chinese men. They have their own 1 4 See "Chapter V: Influence of the Han During Manchu Rule," in my thesis, 1996, 77-84. 18 definition of masculinity. Conforming to the ideal of a "real man" in the West by being physically strong, sexually aggressive, brave, and straightforward might be seen as inexcusable bravado in China. L i Kui in The Water Margin (Shuihuzhuan T K T V H I F ) possesses many attributes that resonate with that of a "real man" in the West. However, he is not the type of ideal man that Chinese girls want to marry. Chinese tradition emphasizes the inner power of a man, mainly his intellect and wisdom associated with a high level of education. Chinese men experienced panic during the crisis challenging their masculinity in the mid-1980s not because of the influence of colonialism, but because of yin-sheng-yang-shuai (the feminine rises and the masculine declines), a threat of a reversal in the yin-yang hierarchy. Second, unlike the feminist movement in the West which rose up from a grassroots' level, Chinese women's liberation, launched by the Communist Party, was directed from above, or top-down. There exists a huge disparity between practice and discourse in women's liberation in Mainland China. Practice is impressively advanced in many aspects of life compared to women's liberation in other Asian countries and even in Western societies whereas the dominant discourse is unbelievably stagnant. Feminist practitioners in China (since they do not want to be labeled as feminists)16 are still struggling for the legitimacy of Chinese feminism, by squeezing into the dominant discourse basic concerns and issues raised long ago in the initial stages of Western feminism. The pressing matter of the moment for Chinese feminism is not to deconstruct the authority of colonialism, but to deconstruct the 1 5 See Jin Guantao & Liu Qingfeng >CIJW# : Xirigshengyu weiji: lun Zhongguofengjian shehui de chao wendingjiegou jMl: fe^ B&MUft^fftMMfei&ffl (Prosperity and Crisis: On the Ultrastable Structure of Chinese Feudal Society), Taibei: Fengyun shidai chubari gongsi, 1998. 1 6 See Wang Zheng: "Three Interviews: Wang Anyi, Zhu Lin, Dai Qing," in Gender Politics in Modern China: Writing and Feminism, ed. Tani E. Barlow, 159-208, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1993. 19 authority/hegemony of patriarchal discourse. This is why I have chosen to focus tightly on these basic but very crucial concerns and issues of feminism in the context of Chinese culture. I see my research as a part of the feminist struggle in Mainland China. For the feminist reader, "the practice of reading is one of the sites in the struggle for change" (Belsey & Moore 1989, 1). Individual literary reading is a biased activity because every reader will bring personal interests, concepts, values and commitments to the task of reading. "There is no innocent or neutral approach to literature: all interpretation is political" (ibid, 1). In this sense, I am not exceptional. I cannot claim that I will provide an impartial analysis that includes all dimensions of the texts to satisfy everybody in every discipline. However, I will support my analysis with clear evidence. On the other hand, any discourse has its own boundaries and limitations. Male literary discourse in China is no exception. Discursive boundaries and limitations confine their visions and restrict them from a multi-dimensional framework of thought that would encourage them to question male-centeredness. The reality in China was, and still is that the supremacy of the male voice rules, and gender-unawareness prevails. This is true, too, in debates on popular works of fiction. Feminist readings that identify the confinement of male-centered discourse will definitely be good for the creation of more enlightened and penetrating literary discourse, and for greater mutual understanding between men and women. Close reading is a fundamental skill for systematic textual analysis. It allows critics to discover solid evidence for their interpretations of the text and to build their understanding of the text without being distracted by secondary commentaries. This method is appropriate for doing original work. I choose this method because the 20 publication of these three novels has stimulated voluminous critiques using different approaches focusing on different subjects, and thus without a close reading, I would have no solid ground to add to, or challenge earlier critiques and contribute my original insights. In my close reading, I will not only scrutinize surface-level meanings, but also the meanings between the lines including the subtexts underneath the surface. In other words, I will examine not only what the author says or shows, but also what he does not say or show that might be the indicator of an unconscious attitude, or a conscious strategy to remain silent on a certain issue. Since what is left out can be just as significant as what is included, it is imperative to "read" these gaps and either bring them to light or find a logical interpretation with the help of external materials. Keeping the methodology and the subject matter of this research in mind, I want to discourage two likely misinterpretations by setting up clear limitations for this dissertation. First, although my dissertation is an attempt to discover and contemplate the links between past and present, the emphasis is on the present with respect to the past-present relationship. This is not a study that provides an omniscient view of history. I set up a very clear context within which men's emasculation complex and, related to that, their representation of women will be discussed. In short, I will stress three "particularities": (1) The issue of masculinity arose during a particular time period (the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s); (2) it affected a particular social group of male intellectuals; and (3) these intellectuals were under a particular kind of psychological pressure resulting from a sense of insecurity about their masculinity. I will include historical elements that remain alive in the present in my analysis. Nonetheless, I will not survey these elements 21 comprehensively in terms of their social, intellectual and ideological evolution through different time periods of history and various/nuanced critiques and commentaries. I will focus on deeply rooted elements of the past that influence the works of contemporary male writers and are still evident in the present elite and public consciousness. I establish this limitation specifically to discourage a possible misinterpretation of my study as reductionist account of certain historical events or philosophies. The second limitation is that this study is about men. By men, I do not mean all men in China. I will focus primarily on male intellectuals, or "Chinese high culture" in Wang Yiyan's terms (1995-96). I link'male intellectuals with patriarchal authors who dominate literary discourses and are not conscious of their male-centeredness. By male literary discourse, I mean the literary discourse of male-centeredness. I discourage the reader from overgeneralization to all Chinese men or all Chinese male intellectuals whenever I use the phrases such as "male intellectuals", "male writers", or "male discourse" for the convenience of discussion. Not all male writers, critics and theorists participate in this discourse and not all participants are males. Some female writers and critics adopt a male-centered perspective and their works play a part in male discourse. In fact, there exists a counter-patriarchal discourse formulated in the early twentieth-century by both male and female writers such as Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Ba Jin, Rou Shi, Ding Ling TO, Bing Xin Lu Yin j ^ l t , Bai Wei Xiao Hong M%L and Zhang Ailing 3fc This discourse was continued and quickly developed in the post-Mao era by woman writers such as Zhang Jie %fn, Wang Anyi dEiSc'lZ, Shen Rong i S ^ , Zhang Kangkang & # [ £ t , Tie Ning Chen Ran'B%k, Lin Bai # 6 , and Can Xue BW. I also include in this discourse recent female writers Wei Hui JLM, Mian Mian frfjfrl, and 22 the most controversial M u Zimei T^ - P I t who are labeled as "writers who write with their bodies".17 Some male writers, such as Wang Xiaobo, 1 8 and male critics, such as Zhang Zhizhong Ins /* , 1 9 participate in this counter-patriarchal feminist discourse. This discourse is founded on the solid ground where after the May Fourth Movement, Chinese women "emerged as a gender from obscurity and through great adversity 'onto the horizon of history,' where finally they shared with men the same expansive possibilities" (Dai Jinhua 2002, 100). However, compared to the supremacy of patriarchal discourse, the voices of this feminist discourse are still weak and there is strong resistance within the patriarchal discourse to interaction/permeation between the two discourses. In this dissertation, I deal primarily with the dominant patriarchal discourse. The reader should keep in mind these exceptions to the rule when I refer to "male intellectuals" and "male discourses." These phrases designate ideological orientation rather than biological differences. 1 7 Wei Hui's Shanghai Baobei _hy$S HI (Shanghai Babe), Mian Mian's Tang $ | (Candy) and Mu Zimei's Yiqingshu M'\m t$(Love Letters) opened a new episode in Chinese literature of young female writers depicting sexual experience audaciously rather than being depicted by male writers. Mu Zimei's Yiqingshu—her online diary—set a new record for website hits and caused an earthquake-like sensation among Chinese internet subscribers. She was criticized as a shamless, immoral woman because she openly claimed, "I am not a writer who writes with her body, but with fluid." Some critics and readers believe that Mu Zimei is the female writer most subversive to the patriarchal tradition. 1 8 The presentation of gender relations and masculinity/femininity in Wang Xiaobo's trilogy, The Golden Age, The Silver Age, and The Bronze Age, is completely new to Chinese readers. Wang is the writer who experimented with avant-garde approaches to transcend traditional patriarchy and rewrite Chinese masculinity/femininity. 19 I will quote some of Zhang's feminist commentaries to support my argument in Chapter Four. 23 Chapter II Past in the Present: The Ideological/Cultural Context of the Resurgence of Confucian Patriarchy during the 1980s And 90s In this chapter, I will use a social-political perspective to lay out the framework of cultural and ideological dynamics during the 1980s and 90s in Mainland China and establish the context for the following three chapters containing my analysis of the emasculation crisis faced by male writers. The distinguishing phases of this crisis are that emasculated Chinese intellectuals experienced a journey of revival, a fight for power, and re-emasculation. The context for the power struggles of Chinese intellectuals lies in two parallel fields: a sharply defined and intensive field of the Party-state and a nebulous and seemingly tranquil field of non-elite women. These struggles are framed in three related dimensions: ideological/cultural transformation, revival of Confucianism and its patriarchy and challenge to the masculinity of Chinese intellectuals. -2.1 Ideological/cultural Transformation The 1980s marked the first decade after the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and the economic reform policies launched by Deng Xiaoping ^ P / J ^ at the end of the 1970s. This was an extremely lively, rapidly changing and chaotic period in China. It is distinguished not only by economic transition but also by ideological/cultural transformation. v • 24 2.1.1 Ideological vacuum After the Communist Party took over China in 1949, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong's Thought was designated and constitutionalized1 as a national ideology that all people in China must follow. There are at least three historical events, among other factors, that fundamentally shook the foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong's Thought as a designated national ideology. First, in his report at the Eleventh National Congress of Communist Party of China in Beijing (August 12-18, 1977), Hua Guofeng 4£H!^t, the successor of Mao Zedong ^ # % , officially announced the end of the Cultural Revolution. This announcement concluded a ten-year national nightmare that pushed the country toward the verge of collapse. For most Chinese listening to this announcement, the significance was like an amnesty that released all prisoners from a nationwide jail. They took a deep breath as ten years of mental and psychological pressure were officially removed. The Cultural Revolution was carried out in the name of following 1 In his opening address at the Fist Session of the First National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (September 15, 1954), Mao Zedong states, "The force at the core leading our cause forward is the Chinese Communist Party. The theoretical basis guiding our thinking is Marxism-Leninism." Because this statement appears as the first entry in Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, during the Cultural Revolution, every Chinese student/adult could recite it. Under Chapter One— General Principles, Article 2 of the two editions of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China adopted on January 17, 1975 by the Fourth National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China at its First Session, and on March 5, 1978 by the Fifth National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China at its First Session, the same designation with little variation appeared as follow: A R T I C L E 2 The Communist Party of China is the core of leadership of the whole Chinese people. The working class exercises leadership over the state through its vanguard, the Communist Party of China. Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is the theoretical basis guiding the thinking of our nation. ("The guiding thought of the People's Republic of China is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought" was in 1978'sedition.) 25 the line of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong's Thought. Even after the Cultural Revolution, Chinese people remained haunted by its ghastly consequences and could not help questioning the legitimacy of its underlying ideology. Second, Deng Xiaoping's economic reform policies introduced substantial capitalist elements and integrated them into the Chinese economic system. This inevitably problematized China's political system as socialism. Realizing the potentially dangerous contradiction between theory and practice — between the claimed socialist nature of the country and the influx of capitalist elements into its economic system, Deng revised socialist "theory"—"To built socialism with Chinese characteristics,"2 which then became the national principle. The problem is that this new "theory" has not yet been systematically rationalized. It is no more than a political slogan in eyes of most Chinese people, who were overwhelmed and fed up with slogans during the Cultural Revolution. Third, the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the middle of the 1980s, followed by the collapse of other communist countries in Eastern Europe, virtually certified the failure of communism. These historical events undoubtedly struck a fatal blow to the communist theory elsewhere in the world. For Chinese, the collapse of the communist countries in Europe justified and intensified their feeling of being deceived by communist theory. 2 At the 12th National Congress of CPC (September 1-11, 1982) in Beijing, Deng Xiaoping stated in the opening speech: "In our modernization program, we must proceed from realities. To integrate universal truth of Marxism with concrete realities of China, take our own road and build socialism with Chinese characteristics." 26 The undercurrent of uneasiness, disquiet, doubt, distrust, disappointment, disillusionment and anger that emerged at the end of the 1970s, rapidly grew and permeated the whole country. These sentiments were succinctly condensed into four Chinese characters—"Wo—bu—xiang—xinV (I don't believe!) represented by the young poet Bei Dao ^ k ^ j . 3 In his famous poem, "Answers" (Huida 0#), published in the official poetry journal Shi Kan i#TiJ (Poetry Monthly) in 1980, Bei Dao proclaims: "Just let me say, world/ I—do—not—believe!/... I don't believe the sky is always blue;/ I don't believe it was thunder echoing;/ I don't believe all dreaming is false;/ I don't believe the dead cannot bring judgment." Here Bei Dao made a clear break from the official, orthodox and hegemonic ideology, and thus he was seen by Chinese readers as a spokesman for this nationwide protest and defiance. His poem strongly touched the national nerve and "Wo—bu—xiang—xin !" became a favorite aphorism particularly among Bei Dao's generation. This distrust in hegemonic ideology can also be confirmed indirectly in the 1982 revision of the constitution.4 In this revised constitution, "the National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at various levels" replaced the Communist 3 The pseudonym of Zhao Zhenkai (1949-). 4 The revision made to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China was adopted at the Fifth Session of the Fifth National People's Congress and Promulgated for Implementation by the Proclamation of the National People's Congress on December 4, 1982. The revised article 2 under Chapter One—General Principles is as follows: Article 2 All power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people. The National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at various levels are the organs through which the people exercise state power. The people administer state affairs and manage economic, cultural and social affairs through various channels and in various ways in accordance with the law. 27 Party in leadership, and law became the legitimate means by which Chinese people "administer state affairs and manage economic, cultural and social affairs." The phrases, "Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is the theoretical basis guiding the thinking of our nation" in the 1975 edition, and "The guiding thought of the People's Republic of China is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought" in the 1978 edition, were taken out of the 1982 revised constitution. From a historical perspective, one could state that Confucianism dominated-China for more than two thousand years and Sinocized-Marxism for less than forty years. Confucianism was severely attacked during the May Fourth movement at the beginning of the twentieth-century and was continuously criticized during the. communist regime. When Marxist communism failed, there was no new ideology to substitute for the previous two. People found nowhere to go. Their souls became restless, homeless, and rootless. This sense of loss grew so strong that it led to an epidemic of nihilism, spreading panic among intellectuals. They declared, "China faces an 'ideological vacuum' (or 'spiritual vacuum', or 'moral vacuum')". 5 "Everywhere in China you hear talk of a spiritual vacuum, an echoing nihilism that quiets this hyperkinetic nation."6 - ' 5 My personal experience. I heard this frequently at the department meetings, academic conferences and personal conversations. 6 Turner, Mia & Edward Barnes. 1999. "Inside China's Search for Its Soul." Time Asia, October 18, Vol. 154, No. 15. http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/99/1018/china.soul.htrnl, accessed on June 8,2003. 28 2.1.2 Ideological and cultural pluralism As people sought ointment for their wounded hearts and new homes for their . restless and wandering souls, Chinese intellectuals saw themselves being urgently needed.7 In response to this "ideological vacuum', a period of ideological/cultural exploration emerged and rapidly brought an ideological/cultural transformation. Taking advantage of the climate of political relaxation initiated by the CCP at the end of 1970s, this trend of seeking a new ideology erupted simultaneously in political, ideological, literary and religious arenas, and soon led to a Culture Fever (wenhuare X l-fc^O, a phenomenon of ideological/cultural pluralism, which was unparalleled in the contemporary Chinese history. In the political/ideological arena, this pluralistic tendency started with sixiang jiefang yundong ^MMMM.^] (the movement of thought emancipation), which was initiated by an article discussing the criterion of truth and enhanced by a sudden explosion of the Xidan minzhuqiang yundong M^-Ki^.il^I (Democracy Wall movement on Xidan Street) in Beijing.8 On May 11, 1978, Guangming Ribao T T J B ^ FJ^S. (Guangming Daily) published an article written by a "Specially Invited Commentator", entitled Shijian shi jianya zhenli de weiyi biaozhun $ 5 & J i M & i & ^ I # J l i t — ( P r a c t i c e is the Sole Criterion 7 Chinese intellectuals traditionally see themselves as spokesmen for the people and the spiritual agency of the nation bearing the responsibility for the fate of the country. This tradition derived from Confucianism, which I will discuss in the following chapter. 8 "Democracy Wall was located in central Beijing on Xidan street, right next to a busy bus terminal. Before becoming the centerpiece of a political movement, the wall had served as a mundane bulletin board. But in 1979 it emerged as a popular venue for people to meet and discuss ideas. Soon citizens started to use the wall to 'publish' their opinions, however cautiously articulated, in wall posters. Curiosity began to grow over what might appear next. There was a kind of magnetic energy that transformed the place from a transit point to a vital source of information." (See Wei Jingsheng, for Testing Truth). This article initiated a nationwide debate over the question: What is the criterion for truth—whatever Mao said or practice and fact? To raise this question was unimaginable during the Cultural Revolution as it would be interpreted as anti-Maoism. The consequence for the questioner could be ending up in the jail or being executed like Zhang Zhixin ^ifefjf . 9 Calling for seeking the truth from facts and systematically correcting past leftist mistakes as the "sole criterion" for discussion was also directly aimed.at Hua Guofeng's "two whatevers" (liangge fenshiW}-^Jhljk).10 Therefore this reformulation was warmly welcomed and encouraged by Deng Xiaoping. In the discussion of the "sole criterion" Chinese intellectuals and the Party-state worked together cooperatively for achieving their own ends respectively: unfledged intellectuals needed the new leadership of the. Party both to fight an orthodox and oppressive ideological system and to accelerate their revival. Deng needed intellectual discourse to help oust Hua Guofeng. During December 18-22, 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Central Committee was held in Beijing. The meeting praised the discussion on "sole criterion", criticized "two "Unorthodox Opinions are Heard on the Street", Time Asia, September 27, 1999, Vol. 154, No. 12. hnp://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/99/0927/democracv wall.html. accessed July 6, 2003) 9 Zhang Zhixin was a young female Communist Party member in Liaoning Province who expressed her dissenting views to a colleague during the Cultural Revolution. She was imprisoned for her different faiths and then executed. On the day before her execution, the authorities cut her throat, lest she shout further "counterrevolutionary" slogans to onlookers on the way to the execution ground. 1 0 On February 7, 1977, less than a half year after the death of Mao Zedong, an editorial by the three Party organs, Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), Jiefangjun Bao (Liberation Army Daily) and Hongqi zazhi (Red Falg Monthly) entitled "Study Documents Well and Grasp the Key Link" came out with Hua Guofeng's approval. It contained the slogan, "We must resolutely support whatever decision Chairman Mao made and consistently follow whatever directives Chairman Mao issued." The principle of "two whatevers" was aimed at perpetuating Mao's leftist mistakes committed during his later years. It was also most likely aimed at preventing the second rehabilitation of Deng. 30 whateverism" advocated by Hua and affirmed the necessity of correctly understanding Mao Zedong' s Thought.11 The Democracy Wall movement began "in late 1978, but it reached its climax and ended in late 1979."1 2 The "sole criterion" debate involved intellectuals' seeking ideological alternatives through official' channels, such as journals, magazines and media, whereas the Democracy Wall movement involved citizens of Beijing and people all over the country1 3 voicing their unorthodox opinions and ideas about the problems of Marxist-maoism, the freedom of speech, modernization and democracy, etc. through an unorthodox channel—posting "dazibao A ^ ffl." (big-character posters) on the wall on Xidan Street. , Many of the posters dealt with personal problems, particularly wrongs suffered during the Cultural Revolution by people all over the country...Other posters were comments on Mao, Marshal Peng, and other leaders and events, and gradually turned into discussions of political principles and demands for constitutional rights, particularly the right of free expression and association. (Chen & Jin 1997, 61) As in the discussion of the "sole criterion", Deng found the public forum helpful to besiege the Hua Guofeng camp, and he deliberately encouraged young A** people to participate in the movement of the Xidan Democracy Wall. However, those who refused to think and speak in the language that Deng expected were shown no 1 1 In May, 1977, Deng Xiaoping had labeled the principle of "watereverism" as un-Marxist on several occasions. The discussion on the criterion of truth was initiated by intellectuals and appeared as a prelude to the emancipating mind movement. It was launched in the political battle between Deng's faction and Hua Guofeng's faction. For the details of this discussion, see Chen Fong-Ching and Jin Guantao, 1977. 1 2 Goldman, Merle. 1999. "The Twentieth Anniversary of the Democracy Wall Movement." Harvard Asian Quarterly, 3.3 (Summer, e-journal) http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~asiactr/haq/199903/index.htm. accessed on July 15, 2003. 31 mercy. The most famous dissident in China, Wei Jingshen ^Mf^E14 was the leading figure of the Democracy Wall movement. "Calling for a 'Fifth modernization — Democracy' to accompany the party's four economic modernizations,"15 he "was one of the few not to sing Deng's praises."16 He was arrested on March 29, 1979, and six months later, on October 16, sentenced to fifteen years in prison for his political dissent. The harbingers of the movement of emancipating the mind were literary figures. "Literature had always been a powerful weapon in traditional China, and both the ruler and the ruled understood this" (Chen & Jin 1997, 93). Literature frozen during the Cultural Revolution started its defreeze and resurrection as early as 1977 when Liu Xinwu >ClJ'LYj?£ (1942-) published his ice-breaking short story, "Ban Zhuren 1 5 i E J i " (The Supervisor of Class) 1 7, in which he vividly depicts a female student, Xie Huimin MMWi, who was kind and honest, but brainwashed by the leftist line during the Cultural Revolution to the extent that her mind was completely paralyzed and dysfunctional. This was the first time such a mind-wounded image appeared in the Contemporary Chinese literature. Soon after that Lu Xinhua / ^ f f f ^ (1954-), a young female writer from Shanghai, published a short story, "Shanghen jfcM" (The Scar, or 1 3 At that time, people all over the country who suffered from wrongs during the Cultural Revolution flooded into Beijing and clogged administrative offices of the State Council with their appeals for justice. They actively participated in the forum of the Xidan Democracy Wall. 1 4 At the time of the Democracy Wall Movement, Wei Jingsheng was an electrician at the Beijing Zoo and the editor of the magazine Exploration. 1 5 The Four Modernizations refer to: the modernization of China's industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology. 1 6 Goldman, Merle. 1999. See note 12. 1 7 In Renmin wenxue A K i ^ (People's Literature) 11 (1977), pp. 16-29. 32 The Wounded).18 This story also is soul-disturbing because it portrays a daughter who abandons her "counter-revolutionary" mother during the Cultural Revolution, and is in turn abandoned by the young man she loves because of her "counter-revolutionary" family background. These two short stories heralded the literary thaw of the 1980s, marked the emergence of a new literature — shanghen wenxue ffi'M^C^ (scar literature, or the literature of the wounded).1 9 This literature boldly exhibits the wounds suffered in the Cultural Revolution by critics of leftist oppression during the darkest days of modern Chinese history. Following this literary breakthrough, works of fiction flourished marking the revival and rise of Chinese intellectuals. Fiction writers became the first group of intellectuals to stand up and voice their long-suppressed feelings on behalf of the people. Scar literature soon evolved into "towering wall literature" (daqiang wenxue A i t S i ^ ) 2 0 , "educated youth literature" (zhiqing wenxue ^Psf J t ^ ) 2 1 , "obscure poetry" (or misty poetry, menglongshi 1 8 In Wenhuibao XILtfL, August 11, 1978. 1 9 "Scar literature" {shanghen wenxue i^j'M^C^1) is named after the short story "Scar." Scar literature emerged almost immediately after the Cultural Revolution. Stories detailed agonies, traumas, tragedies and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. 2 0 "Towering Wall literature" (daqiang wenxue) was named after Cong Weixi's novel, Daqiangxia de hongyulan A ^ T l W S l Z E ^ . (Red Magnolias under the Towering Wall). Cong Wenxi MM§ (1933-) was labeled a "rightist" in 1957 and spent 22 years in prison or a gulag. After he was rehabilitated in 1979, he wrote a series of fictional works with his remembrance of life in prison. Zhang Xianliang is "another writer of "Towering wall literature," known for his fiction of Chinese gulag life. 2 1 "The literature of educated youth" (zhiqing wenxue) is written by and/or about urban youth sent down to the countryside to be reeducated by the peasants during the Cultural Revolution. The literature of educated youth was a derivation of scar literature. The setting was shifted to the countryside with the theme of exploring the lives of urban youth altered by the Cultural Revolution. Authors drew upon their memories and personal experiences in the countryside. The leading writers include: Zhang Chengzhi i/K Liang Xiaosheng jglfaps, Lao Gui Ah Cheng fflffi and Han Shaogong 33 ) , 2 2 "exposure literature" (baolu wenxue # ^ 3 t ^ ) , "new realism literature" (xin xianshizhuyi wenxue §TM££X3C¥),23 and "reform literature" (gaige wenxue ~$J$-X ^ ) . 2 4 From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, literary writers sought bolder and more radical progress in their ideological exploration that led literature to evolve into a pluralistic and dazzling divergence. As ,a part of Culture Fever, which I will discuss below, "root-seeking literature" (xuegen wenxue # t S X ^ ) 2 5 drew public attention 22 "Obscure Poetry" (menglongshi, or Misty poetry) was invented by Bei Dao. Obscure poetry is part of scar literature. Poets of this school grew up during and after the Cultural Revolution and bear clear marks of that disastrous era. They experimented with obscure language to subvert the orthodox hegemony. These poets include: Bei Dao, Shu Ting £f and Gu Cheng MfflL. 23 ' . "Exposure literature" (baolu wenxue) and "New Realism Literature" (xin xianshizhuyi wenxue) were virtually merged into one as the same genre bearing different terms. New realism literature included fictional writings, dramas and reportages. The major theme of this genre is to expose social abuses by the privileged class, the vices and injustice of the society, ill treatment and deprivation of human rights. Representative works include: Sha Yexin j^tJfSf, Li shoucheng ^^f^L and Yao Minde's "Jiaru Wo shi Zhende f i ^ O i c ^ * ^ " (If I were Real), a special issue ofXijuyishu $$J2v|t (Art of Drama) and Shanghai xiju JcJM^%W[ (Shanghai Drama), Shanghai, 1979; Wang Jing's 3E$f film script, "Zai shehui dang 'an li i £ | ± # S -SbM" (In the Archives of the Society), Dianying Chuangzuo frj ffc (Film Creation), no. 10, 1979. Reportage was written in a literary style based on real events. Liu Binyan #ij^j|f is the founder of this genre and his "Renyao zhijia K$k1£-W' (Between Monsters and Men", published in Renmin Wenxue A K 3 t ^ (People's Literature), no. 9, 1979, pp. 83-102, is representative of this genre. 2 4 "Reform literature" was created by Jiang Zilong M-^lt (1941-). In 1979 while Chinese literature was immersed deeply in recalling and reflecting on the wounds and sadness of the Cultural Revolution, Jiang Zilong published a short story "Qiaochangzhang shangren ji ft l~JliiitL" (Manager Qiao Assumes Office) (Renmin wenxue AK3t^[People's Literature] 1979: 7). This story depicts a reformist Manager Qiao who is an affirmative actor rather than a sad armchair thinker. He takes bold and resolute action to advance reform of his factory. Like thunder, this story woke people up from sad and angry retrospect and changed the trend of literary writing. 2 5 "Root-seeking literature" (xunge wenxue) is kind of elite literature that emerged in the mid-1980s. The name "xungen" (searching for roots) was taken from Han Shaogong's article, "Wenxue de gen" (The roots of literature), published in Wenyi Bao (The Literary Gazette) in July 1985. Critics see this article as the start of the existence of the school of root-seeking (xungenpai), or the nativist school. Ah 34 with its echo of remote Chinese history. Under the influence of deconstructionism, post-colonialism and anti-Orientalism from the outside world, writers of avant-garde fiction (xianfengpai xiaoshuo $t%$MdN i & ) 2 6 depicted the chaos of contemporary Chinese society from multiple perspectives and stances. The audacious and impudent "hooligan literature" (liumang wenxue yjat&^C^ or pizi wenxue ^ g - F ^ t ^ ) 2 7 could only come into existence during this most liberal and pluralistic time period of contemporary Chinese history. Yellow peril (huang huo H T S ) 2 8 became the best signifier of a national state of "spiritual/moral vacuum". In the field of literary criticism, critics became familiar with and started modeling their works after the Freudian "Oedipal Complex", stream of consciousness, structuralism, formalism, deconstructuralism, neo-historicism, Latin-American Magical realism, etc. Cheng wrote " Wenhua Zhiyue zhe renter (Culture Conditions Human Beings), Wenyi Bdo (The Literary Gazette), July 6, 1985. Writers of "roots" attempted to find a historical context and narrative to interpret China's present state. They went beyond the confines of modern Chinese literature and with their exploration of history to gain new literary awareness. Leading writers in this school include: Han Shaogong, Ah Cheng, Jia Pingwa, Li Hangyu $£aW, Wang Anyi ZESc'fc, etc. 2 6 "Avant-garde fiction" represents a genre of experimental fiction which gained prominence in the late 1980s. Filled with mirages, hallucinations,.myths, and mental puzzles, stories of "avant-garde" fiction reveal a fantastic, outlandish.and bizarre picture of whatever they depict. Representative writers are Su Tong 'ftS, Yu Hua Ge Fei f&#, Can Xue etc. 27 "Hooligan literature"(//'u/wa«g wenxue) is the label exclusively attributed to Wang Shuo (1958-), because his characters are like a group of social scum who indulge themselves in drinking, gambling, swearing and promiscuity. Chinese authorities described him as a "spiritual pollutant." 28 ' "Yellow" in China is the color referring to pornography. "Yellow peril" is the descriptive term given by Zha Jianyin to Jia Pingwa's The Abandoned Capital (Feidu), published in 1993. This genre also includes pornographic videotapes and tabloids that flooded the market in the mid-1980s. Jia Pingwa's porn-like novel swept the country and intensified the trend toward yellow peril. See Zha Jianyin, 1995. 35 Readers of 1980s Chinese fiction were bombarded with the rapid creation of new names and terms that came out one after another without enough time to absorb the meanings of the previous new creations. Helen F. Siu summarizes, "The literary scene in China during the 1980's was, at least until June 1989, lively, and puzzling" (1990, 1). That unprecedented dazzling time was challenging for readers as well. In religion, a crisis of faith was the immediate result of the "ideological/spiritual vacuum". "Fifty years ago on an overcast day, Mao and his cadres had gathered in Tian'anmen and stared at a nothing future—no food, no remnants of a healthy economy, no allies. A l l they had was faith." 2 9 Communism served as a factual religion for Chinese people during Mao's time, because "it was revelation and a prophecy that engaged their entire beings and was expounded in sacred texts."3 0 However, that faith became "the only thing missing from Jiang Zemin's party."31 To fill that vacuum, Chinese people turned to religion that seemed to i transform this self-proclaimed atheist country into a polytheist one overnight. "Beijing does say that since the 1980s, more than 600 Protestant churches have opened each year in China. More than 18 million Bibles have been printed, some on the presses of the People's Liberation Army." 3 2 The old beliefs of the masses in Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Shamanism, and various local or regional gods/goddesses are also rebounding. 2 9 Turner and Barnes 1999. See note 6. 3 0 Waldron, Arthur, 1998. "'Religious Revivals in Communist China." ORBIS, vol. 42, no. 2 (Spring), pp. 325-334. http://www2.kenvon.edu/depts/religion/fac/Adler/reln270/revivals.htm, accessed on June 8,2003. • • ' • ' :'' Turner & Barnes 1999. See note 6. n Ibid. . " Waldron, Arthur, 1998. See note 30. 36-Economic, political, ideological, literary, and religious revival emerged, thrived and merged into a melting pot of 1980s China that eventually formed Culture Fever (wenhuare). Culture Fever was initiated by the intellectual elite and later spread to mass culture. It started with Cultural Discussion that can be seen as "a continuum of the movement of emancipating the thought at the end of the 1970s. It reached its peak in 1985 and "was kindled anew with the outbreak of controversy over the popular.TV documentary series Heshang M ^ i (Yellow River Elegy)" 3 4 (Wang Jing 1996, 48 & 53). According to Chen Fong-ching and Jin Guantao, 1984 was the breakthrough year for Culture Fever; 1985 was the year of gathering momentum; and 1986 was its high tide, for this was the year of all sorts of cultural activities that even attracted taciturn government officials and previously suppressed dissidents to participate (1997, 171). The subjects of Cultural Discussion were so various that they are very hard to summarize in a couple of sentences. However, the central theme was about modernization and the direction of Chinese culture. Every intellectual movement since the end of the nineteenth century, including Culture Fever, tried to reconcile the modern and the traditional (xiandai yu chuantong iJJl'iX—Ji^^fc). Some who were obsessed with fears of lagging behind the outside world, in terms of economy and intellectual discourse, advocated imposing Western ideologies on China; others were preoccupied with Chinese indigenous traditions that might vanish under the combined 34 Heshang (Yellow River Elegy) is a six-part television documentary broadcasted in 1988 on China Central Television. In re-examining the state of Chinese culture, it divides world cultures into two types: "yellow civilization" or "inland culture" focusing on the images of the Yellow River and loess plateau in China, and "blue civilization" or "ocean culture" symbolizing Western cultures. The major theme of the documentary is that the yellow culture is declining and "Old China can only revive its dying culture by modernization and Westernization." (Wang 1996, 118-119) Heshang places a confidence in the Western cultures, as it shows the final image of the Yellow River meeting the sea and dissolving into the great ocean. 37 Communist attack and wave of westernization. Both sides tried to conceptualize their own new theories/ideologies by integrating Western ideas and conventional value systems. "Between January 1985 and June 1986, newspapers across the nation published approximately two hundred essays on the subject of Chinese culture. Special columns were created in major papers to facilitate the voicing of views on such issues as whether China was experiencing a genuine cultural renaissance" (Wang Jing 1996, 50). Echoing Cultural Discussion among Chinese intellectual elite, Culture Fever took other forms in livening up masses. Rock music, "Northwest Wind" music, fashion, dianda/yada/handa N E L A / ^ A / I S A (TV university/evening university/correspondence university) fever, qigong ^Tfa (meditation) fever, Yijing Jj #n (The Changes of Classics) fever, Qiongyao 3 5 fever, Jin Yong ife/ft 3 6 fever, and jietow yangge tij$k$tHft (folk dances on the street) fever37 all found their space in 38 social and community life. 3 5 Qiongyao (193 8-) is a female writer of romance fiction from Taiwan. She published more than 50 fictional works of love stories. Qiongyao fever broke out in Mainland China. The majority of Qiongyao fans were young girls and female college students, for whom Qiongyao built up a dreamland of ideal life. Qiongyao's romance fiction was criticized as a "spiritual poison". For critiques of Qingyao, see Leo Ou-fan Lee, Modem Fiction from Taiwan, Critical Prespectives, Indiana University Press, 1980. See also Lin Fangmei's Social Change and Romantic Ideology: The Impact of the Publishing industry, family organization, and gender roles on the reception and interpretation of romance fiction in Taiwan, 1960-1990, Ph. D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1992. 3 6 Jin Yong (Louis Cha, 1924-) bom in Haining, Zhejiang province is a most famous novelist of Martial Arts Fiction (wuxia xiaoshuo jSJ'K'jHJtL) in China. He created a fantasy wuxia gongfu (martial arts) world with his works written between 1955 and 1972 that attracted numerous young readers in Mainland China. Dozens of Hong Kong films are directly based on or inspired by Jin Yong stories. There was a craze for wuxia films in the early 1990s. 37 Yangge is a collective folk dance. In the early 1990s, Old people in Changchun, Jilin province started to dance yangge on the street for self-entertainment and physical exercise. This voluntary, collective activity, was called by researchers jietou yangge re (fever of folk dance on the street) or jietou yangge 38 What was the CCP's reaction to this ideological and cultural divergence? The CCP deliberately loosened its political and ideological control immediately after the Cultural Revolution. There were at least two reasons for this relaxation: first, to mobilize the spirit of initiative among people whose minds had become numb from a long period of hegemonic politics. CCP leaders were afraid that long-oppressed people might hold strong resentment against the communist regime. Political relaxation would allow people to release their anger by channeling it away from the CCP to the Gang of Four who were the scapegoats for all mistakes made by the CCP in the past; it would also encourage people to criticize the factional opponents of Deng Xiaoping who successfully dethroned Hua Guofeng by taking advantage of the discussion of the "sole criterion" and the movement of Democracy Wall. "Although party leaders have tolerated more divergent political views since the early 1980's, they continue to expect unquestioning commitment to the country" (Siu 1990, 1). However, Party leaders found intellectuals reluctant to cooperate with this objective, which "poses a unique problem for the Party. Ideological engineers find it difficult to mold opinion when the subject refuses to think or speak in the required language" (ibid, 1). The movement of emancipating the thought put the Party-state in jeopardy of loosing their ideological control over the country. Leaders at high levels became worried and decided to take action. In the Second Plenary Session of the Twelfth Part Central Committee in 1983, Deng Xiaoping initiated the first political campaign after the Cultural Revolution to "purge spiritual pollution" (qingchu wenhua (culture of folk dance on the street), added a unique aspect to city culture that spread to other cities in China. 3 8 For Culture Fever, also see my article (1992). 39 jingshen wuran yff W^^W-t^Vk). This campaign targeted "decadent, moribund ideas of the bourgeoisie" that threatened the socialist system or questioned the legitimacy of the Party's leadership. The CCP wanted to achieve ideological unity, strengthen discipline and pull the country back to the "right" path. However, this political campaign failed to stop the trend of political/ideological pluralism, which continued its expansion. The CCP decided to wage another political campaign. Unlike "purge spiritual pollution" which primarily depended on political propaganda, the 1986 campaign of "anti-bourgeois liberalization" (fandui zichenjieji ziyouhua ELM^f^l^k 15 1=3 i { t ) came with a series of very resolute and hawkish actions. On January 16, 1987, Hu Yaobang r^M^P was ousted from his post as General Secretary of the Party Central Committee. Within one week following the Hu Yaobang's event, the CCP expelled another three influential dissidents from the party for their activities in bourgeois liberalization.39 The CCP also took a series of measures to suppress student on-campus and off-campus demonstrations that took place frequently between 1983 and 1988 all over the country. Idealistic and naive intellectuals and students were not aware that these political campaigns and resolute actions were actually a prelude to the June 4, 1989 crackdown on the Tian'anmen Square demonstration that finally closed the episode of ideological divergence in the 1980s. What China presented in the 1980s was a very dynamic, fascinating, complex, puzzling, unstable and even chaotic picture. Reformism, conservatism, modernism, 3 9 On January 13, 1987, Wang Ruowang JE^qM was expelled from the Party. On January 17, Fang Lizhi JjJjfa^L was removed from his post as Vice-President of the ChineseUniversity of Science and Technology, and was expelled from the Party three days later (January 20), because he was a "ringleader of bourgeois liberalization." On January 23, Liu Binyan was expelled from the Party. 40 neo-Marxism, socialism, capitalism, traditionalism, nihilism, cynicism, nationalism, humanism, neo-Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, student demonstrations, Tibetan separatists, folk superstitions ... all mushroomed, revived, overlapped and entangled with each other in competing for spheres of influence. From the fact that so many "-isms" appeared, we can see the 1980s was a remarkable decade of ideological exploration. Wang Ruoshui jjE^EfZK issued a theory of "alienation"; Liu Zaifu raised the idea of subjectivity in literature; L i Zehou $ # J ¥ proposed xiti zhongyong ( S j ^ ^ f f l (Western substance, Chinese application); Fang Lizhi called for the elite to be the only legitimate guardian of China's spiritual civilization; Su Xiaokang stirred the nation with his "blue culture" (Western culture) and "yellow culture" (Chinese culture) in Heshang (The River Elegy); Jin Guantao created a concept of "deep structure" and a theory of the "ultrastable system"; Han Shaogong pioneered the "seeking for roots" movement in literature; Jia Pingwa created "Shangzhou culture" based on his hometown in writing the Shangzhou series; and Wang Shuo gained the patent on "hooligan literature" by bringing in innumerous rascals, and rogues, and allowing them to occupy the center of the scene... A l l of these prominent writers gained influence and reached the top during this period time. The trend of political and ideological divergence was transformed into ideological/cultural pluralism, and was in full swing until 1989. The self-enlarged role of the intellectual elite in controlling a national discourse of liberalization reached an unprecedented level during this period of time. Revived Chinese intellectuals, having experienced several years of self-promotion and several rounds of subtle negotiations with the Party-state, believed that they were in a position of strength in political negotiations with the Party for their 41 independence from Party control, maintaining their freedom of speech, and holding onto their power in managing and modernizing the ideology of the nation. The crackdown on the Tian'airmen Square demonstration in 1989 was a watershed between the two decades of the 1980s and 1990s. Chinese researchers refer to the first decade (starting in the late 1970s) as the "new-period culture" and the second decade (after the June Fourth incident in 1989) as the "post-new-period culture". The most striking characteristic of the "post-new-period culture" of the 1990s was cultural suppression from 1989-1992, followed by the commercialization of culture and the blending of elite and popular culture. "The idealism and cultural enthusiasm of the 1980s waned," and the country "ushered in a new era of economic development."40 The irresistible wave of modernization rapidly commercialized China and focused all divergent attention, concerns and pursuits in one direction — money making. Chinese intellectuals, seen as spokesmen of the country's consciousness and morality, and as agents of the country-'s enlightenment, soon were pushed away from the center stage to the periphery. I will discuss this topic more in Chapter V in my analysis on The Abandoned Capital. . See "Pop Culture Goes Global", China Daily, June 10, 2003. 42 2.2 The Revitalization of Confucianism and the Resurgence of Confucian Patriarchy Within the very dynamic, complex and even chaotic picture of the 1980s, one phenomenon that ran parallel to the westernization of Chinese ideology was the revival of Confucianism and the resurgence of the Confucian patriarchy. "Confucianism, a generic Western term that has no counterpart in Chinese, is a worldview, a social ethic, a political ideology, a scholarly tradition, and a way of life" (Tu 1998, 3). Although Confucius was just one among many Chinese philosophers, and Confucianism was just one among many Chinese philosophies, "often grouped together with Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism as a major historical religion" (ibid, 3), it is undeniable that Confucianism dominated China's history more than 2000 years. During the May Fourth Movement led by Chinese intellectuals at the beginning of the twentieth-century, Confucianism became the number one target of this political/ideological/cultural revolution. The Communist Party, after being founded in 1921, persistently carried on the May Fourth legacy and its passionate battle to eradicate Confucianism and uproot its influence from the mindset of Chinese people. Mao Zedong understood clearly that it is much easier to deconstruct and destroy an old system than to reconstruct a new one. The key to the victory of Communism over traditional ideology was to find an appropriate theory, which Mao borrowed from Europe. He claims, 43 Corrvmunism is at once a complete system of proletarian ideology and a new social system. It is different from any other ideological and social system, and is the most complete, progressive, revolutionary and rational system in human history. The ideological and social system of feudalism has a place only in the museum of history (Mao Zedong 1966 [1940], 23). Sixty years after the May Fourth movement, Confucianism (what Mao called feudalism) seemed all but dead. During the 1980s, a revival of Confucianism was evident in both mass culture and intellectual high culture. Chinese intellectuals view Confucianism as the most influential philosophy (ruji'a MM) in China's history, while Chinese masses, more often than not, treat Confucianism as a religion (rujiao filifc) and worship Confucius as a God. It is interesting to witness how history repeats the deification of an intellectual icon. Little red books of Mao Zedong's quotations, often printed and reprinted during the Cultural Revolution, were also called "zuigao zhishi S i S j J I I T F " (Instructions from the highest). These books flooded into every household and everyone's pocket. Ten years later at Qufu the birthplace of Confucius, little red books are for sale. They have plastic covers with the title Lunyu i£i!r (The Analects), and they look just like the little red books of Mao's sayings that were so ubiquitous during the Cultural Revolution.4 1 During the Cultural Revolution, the only type of mass ceremonies allowed were related to Mao, to celebrate Mao's birthday, Mao's latest instructions, or victories achieved under Mao's revolutionary line. Ten years after Mao's death, large ceremonies to celebrate Confucius' birthday appeared in China. Such mass ceremonies have continued on through the 1990s and into the twenty first century. It is ironic to 4 1 Waldron, 1998. See note 30. 44 see how Mao Zedong tried his best to uproot the influence of Confucianism, and two decades later in 1994, how his successor, President Jiang Zeming £ L # i ^ "praised the great man's [Confucius'] contributions to Chinese society on the occasion of his 2,550th birthday."42 "It is reported that each July, when the national college entry examinations are held, Confucian temples are filled with parents asking Confucius to bless their children."43 This revival of Confucianism continues to flourish and has shown no sign yet of subsiding. A total of 800,000 teenagers have read the great Chinese classics, including the Analects of Confucius, across the country in the past two years, and the number of students to take part in the project of reading the Chinese classics, launched by China Youth Foundation, is expected to reach 3 million in the coming 10 years.44 What did Chinese intellectuals contribute to the revival of Confucianism in the 1980s and 90s? The role of intellectuals in revitalizing Confucianism can be traced back to 1978 when the first symposium on the study of Confucianism was held at Shandong University, the home province of Confucius' birthplace (Wang Jing 1996, 68). During the heat of Culture Fever in 1984, The Chinese Foundation of Confucius was established in Qufu; the following year, The Chinese Research Institute, on Confucius was founded in Beijing. Numerous conferences, meetings, symposiums, workshops, lecture sessions were held during the period of Culture Fever, focusing on Chinese culture and comparative studies of China and the West. The relationship between Confucianism and modernization was the frequent focus of these. academic 4 2 See "Confucian Teachings Stand Test of Time." China Daily Dec. 11, 2000. 4 3 Ibid. 45 \ events. For example, "In April [1986], the Chinese Foundation of Confucius and the journal Kongzi yanjiu ?L"?^ff^L [Studies of Confucius] held a joint meeting in Qufu, Confucius' birthplace, to examine the relationship between socialism and Confucian traditionalism" (Wang Jing 1996, 51). New journals, magazines, books and dissertations on studies of Confucius and Confucianism mushroomed in China and still keep coming out in ever greater numbers. In typing "Kongzi J L ^ " (Confucius) to browse online in the catalog of the National Library of China, 4 51 found twenty titles of books published between 1980 and 1984, 142 books and dissertations published between 1985 and 1989, 414 books and dissertations published between 1990 and 1999, and 160 already (including eight dissertations) between 2000 and 2003. I roughly counted that at least 80 percent of these books were published in Mainland China. This ideological (re)construction of Chinese tradition in the context of modernization, turns out to be political again. The Party-state officially and unambivalently supported the revival of Confucianism both to resist foreign influence and "bourgeois spiritual pollution". Intellectuals utilized Confucianism to resist rapid Westernization that might undermine indigenous Chinese culture and to oppose the Party's totalitarianism. Ironically, collaboration between the Party-state and conservatism (or neo-Confucianism as critics say) was established for satisfying the purposes of both sides. The key is that neither side tried to distinguish the quintessence (jinghua #f ^ ) from the dregs (zaopo W10 ) of Confucianism, "...the neo-Confucianists did not adequately address the intriguing theoretical question of how 1 4 .Ibid. 46 one can critique but at the same time inherit tradition" (Wang Jing 1996, 65). No emphases or warnings were given to masses on the proper understanding of Confucianism either in terms of the detrimental impact of its link with hierarchical social organization or its viewpoint on gender. Consequently, women and peasants became victims of this revival of Confucianism. I will discuss the status of Chinese peasants under Confucian patriarchy in my case study of Mo Yan in Chapter Four. Coupled with the revival of Confucianism in both mass culture and high culture came the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy. Two points need to be clarified here. First, although as its name suggests, Confucian patriarchy is a component of Confucianism, the revival of Confucianism and the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy did not appear in the 1980s and 90s in a cause-effect relationship. First the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy in the 1980s and 90s was both a direct social response to the phenomenon of yinsheng yangshuai (the yin waxes and yang wanes, or the feminine rises and the masculine declines) and a product of economic reforms rather than a direct result from the revitalization of Confucianism. Second, the revitalization of Confucianism was primarily the result of a conscious effort made by Chinese intellectual elite, while the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy consisted of subconscious and conscious folk responses to changes in economy and gender relations, as I mentioned in the Introduction. However, I am not suggesting that these two levels of intellectual discourse and folk belief do not intersect. Popular culture, folk belief and social practices always provide a reservoir from which intellectual inspirations and products are generated. It is also true that any publicized intellectual movement wil l exert influence on the mindset of commoners, either constructive or 4 5 Accessed on July 6, 2003. 47 destructive. This is particularly true in the Chinese context, as Chinese intellectuals have a tradition of viewing themselves as a special social group who bear the responsibility for the enlightenment of the people, and the people embrace the notion that "our scholars are developing the Confucian philosophical system so that it can play a bigger role in contemporary China." 4 6 The resurgence of patriarchal ideology and the practice of patriarchy in popular culture proceed unabated. Here I will present evidence on the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy in popular culture and social practice. 2.2.1 Discrimination against women in the job market Mao's Communist Party made big effort to free women from domesticity. The original motive of the CCP was to strengthen the productive work that was urgently needed for socialist construction after the CCP took over China in 1949. 4 7 Encouraging women to work outside the home was made a significant and key step in women's liberation. The state also initiated a series of measures to guarantee equal rights between the sexes and equal opportunity in employment and wages: first, to 48 constitutionalize equal rights for women ; second, to apply the principle nannu tonggong tongchou % |R] X [RJ Wl (men and women enjoy equal pay for equal 4 6 See "Confucian Teachings Stand Test of Time." China Daily Dec. 11, 2000. 47 Out of seven quotations under the category of "women" in Mao's quotations, six emphasize women's role in the labor force. 48 "Women in the People's Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life, political, economic, cultural, social, and family life." (Article 48, Equal Rights for Women, The Constitution of the People's Republic of China. [1982]). 48 work.) 4 9; and third, to put into practice jihua jingji i+$J (a planned economy) rather than shichang jingji l$t%%t$r (a market economy). Under the protection of the planned economy, women's equal rights to employment and wages were guaranteed. The United Nations reports, ...with the help of the Constitution and legislation. Women entered into almost all walks of life and created one of the highest female employment rates in the world. Women accounted for 8% of the total work force in 1949, rising to 31% in 1978, and reaching 46% in 1995.50 However, thirty-years of achievement in employment, wages, and economic/social status for women was threatened by the tide of economic reform, even though women's employment rates kept rising. The first element that the market economy introduced into the economic system was competition. Women, particularly urban women, became the first social group to be marginalized by competition. During the 1980s and 90s, Chinese women continued to participate actively in social life and seek a greater achievements in their careers. At the same time, strong resistance arose against women's desire to achieve equality with men. This tendency drew public attention to the job market where women were in an unfavorable position. The United Nations reports, "Since the start of the economic reforms in 1978, however, women began to encounter increasing discrimination as the contradiction-between gender equality, as provisioned by law, and the differential treatment in practice "The state protects the rights and interests of women, applies the principle of equal pay for equal work for men and women alike and trains and selects cadres from among women." (Article 48, Equal Rights for Women, The Constitution of the People's Republic of China. [1982]) "Enable every woman who can work to take her place on the labor front, under the principle of equal pay for equal work. This should be done as quickly as possible." (Mao Zedong 1966, 298) 3 0 http://www.unchina.or(z/about china/html/gender.shtml. accessed on July 6, 2003. 49 became more prevalent."51 "Women face more difficulties than men in gaining promotion as, for instance, they are obliged to retire at age of fifty-five, five years * 52 earlier than men." Many employers set up a double standard for male and female employment. A survey in 1987 by the Women's Department in the Federation of Trade Unions of China shows that the average aptitude score of employees recruited among seventy seven units in private businesses and state enterprises was 115 points for men and 127 points for women. Employers adopt a double standard: men compete with men and women compete with women. If the points of the top male applicant are much lower than those of the lowest female applicant, the male applicant would still get the job as the top male (Meng Xianfan 1995, 63). Many female university graduates were rejected by employers who openly claimed that women caused more trouble than men because they would take maternity leave after they married. Some employers stated that their jobs required frequent business travel and that women were not as suitable for these jobs because they caused more trouble such as getting sick, menstruating and taking care of their children. Statistics show that in 1987, 1419 employees in thirty seven enterprises in Jiangshu province were laid off, and seventy five percent were women; 3089 employees in thirty five enterprises in Heilongjiang province were laid off and 79.9 % were women; 1075 employees in seven enterprises in Guangxi province were laid off and 79.4 % were women (Meng Xianfan 1995, 49). This tendency of discrimination against women is so ubiquitous that senior leaders of Fulian, the Women's Federation, were critical of Deng Xiaoping's reforms. 5 1 Ibid. 50 "They argued that one undesirable effect was the resurgence of feudal misogyny and its expression in outright official bias." (Barlow 1994, 342) Updated information shows that this trend of job discrimination against women continues up to the present. Some employers invent rules, regulations and restrictions especially imposed on women. For example, a bank in Nanjing City recently hired a female university graduate. As a condition of employment, she was required to sign a "huaiyun xieyi 'W^^}iX" (An Agreement on Pregnancy), which prohibited her from getting pregnant for three years.33 2.2.2 A call to go back home. Change in the employment market based on gender difference caused social concern about whether or not women should go back to the kitchen. A debate on this subject was even evident in academic circles. Both Dai Qing He Bit (a famous female journalist and writer) and Chang Leren ^ ^ f r A called for women to go back home because that is the right place for women in a country whose productive level is still primitively low, and because that is the optimized distribution of manpower.54 Many female voices strongly opposed the call to go-home, including those in academic circles and among ordinary people. A survey of women conducted by the Journal of Chinese Women included the question, "Should women work or should they go home 5 3 This news was originally released in Yangzi wanbao (Yangtzi Evening News), July 12, 2003. It was re-reported on July 15, 2003 on the website of the Chinese Women's Federation, http://www.women.org.cn/news/newsdt/list.isp?id=43728&picflash=&barid=4. accessed on July 16, 2003. Also see the article "Xingbieyouyong, youxiuwuyongl 'l4£iJWffl, tfc^r^cffl?" (Sexual Identity is Useful while Excellence [in academic performance] is Useless?) by Zhu Yanying ^fcffiH and Xu Min in July 14, 2003 Zhongguo Funii Bao (Chinese Women Gazette). It reports the same problem for female university graduates in finding a job. 3 4 Cited in Meng Xianfan, p.90-91. 51 to take care of children and do housework?" Eighty five percent responded "should work" and only ten percent chose the answer "go home" (Meng Xianfan 1995, 94). I know of no similar survey of male respondents, but personally I heard many conversations among male intellectuals pointing out the advantages of women going home. L i Xiaojiang found, "those who hope for a reversal are not women, but rather some Chinese men; most strangely, more than half of them are sensible male intellectuals" (1997, 125). Tani Barlow examines the phenomenon of calling women to go back to the kitchen from the perspective of gender psychology. Women were put into an unfavorable position in the job market, but also benefited from new economic policies, which provided them unprecedented opportunities to give free rein to their talent and creativity. She observes that rapid change in gender roles and female personality after Deng Xiaoping's economic reform policy was launched, made men feel panicky. "They reacted by seeking to force, nuxing [females] back into the demeaning, emotionally laborious, traditional female role categories such as wife, housekeeper, and child care nurse." (Barlow 1994, 350) This call for women to go home was continuously heard in China until it was suppressed temporarily by the S A R S 5 5 epidemic in the spring of 2003. A n insightful article by Xiong Lei W-M says the nagging discussion on "letting women go home" that was heard ceaselessly in past years disappeared in the mainstream of the media during the SARS epidemic. Although there were no accurate statistics available, the author estimated that more than half of those who worked on the frontline of fighting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. 52 SARS and assumed heaviest burden of nursing patients were women. It is clear, without women, there would be no victory in the fight against to SARS. Those who went home were men because they constitute the vast majority of those doing "business" in restaurants and attending "negotiation" banquets paid for by taxpayer's money. Xiong Lei adds that men who advocated that women should voluntarily go home were quiet during the SARS epidemic. This voluntary principle created by men did not work at all during this life-and-death period of crisis. A woman working on the frontlines in a hospital who went home voluntarily would be labeled as a deserter and be penalized. Someone might say, this only applies to a specific time period. However, the author argues, Our question is why women cannot go home when the nation experiences a crisis, but when calm is reestablished in the country, women should go home to make room for men's employment. Any responsible and moral government cannot adopt this utilitarian attitude towards half of the labor force and manipulate women back and forth. Only good-for-nothing [men] sing women's praises and call upon them to stand up to sacrifice during the crisis and chase them back home when the crisis passes (Xiong July 8, 2003). 2.2.3 The resurgence of "de facto" bigamy/polygamy/concubinage and prostitution Article 2 of the 1950 Marriage Law stipulates that: "Bigamy and concubinage shall be prohibited." However, how to define bigamy was left for the Chinese Criminal Law, and the relevant judicial interpretation of the Supreme People's Court (Zuigao Renmin Fayuan There are two types of bigamy. 53 The first type of bigamy is where a married person undertakes a marriage . registration with a third party, and the third party knowingly enters into the marriage. The other form of bigamy defined by the judicial interpretation, is where the parties live together as husband and wife without a marriage registration, but at least one of them is already legally married. Chinese legal experts normally call the former "de jure" bigamy, because one of the parties has two registered marriages. And the second kind of bigamy is called "de facto" bigamy because of the lack of marriage registration.56 There were only a few "de jure" bigamy cases in Mainland China after the economic reform. Most cases of bigamy, even polygamy were "de facto" ones. Bigamy came back with the practice of "bao er nai J S — #3 / 1*L — #5 " (embracing/contracting to a second wife or a concubine), initiated by businessmen from Hong Kong. In the mid-1980s, economic and business related events/activities increased. Businessmen from Hong Kong visited Mainland China frequently and stayed there for a quite long time. Some took advantages of their business trips to visit prostitutes, but others who were already married cohabited in the Mainland with a third party in a husband and wife/concubine pattern. People call the Mainland third party "er nai ~#3" (second wife, or a concubine). Bao er nai has become a serious problem in big cities in China, particularly in Guangdong province, which has been in the forefront of the economic reform and the open-door policy. Some local men began to imitate Hong Kong businessmen. A folk expression sprang up, "If a man doesn't keep a concubine, he's not successful." See Article 258 of the Chinese Criminal Law and an advisory opinion of the Supreme People's Court in 1994.The Supreme People's Court said that after 1 February 1994, if a married person or a person who knows the other party is married and lives together with a third party as husband and wife, they still commit bigamy. (Cited in Ninglan Xue's "Revision of the Chinese Marriage Law in 2001." http://www.humanritzhts.uio.no/forsknina/publ/wp/2002/01/working paper-Kev.html#Heading53, accessed on July 6, 2003) 54 Well, there are a lot of successful men in Guangdong. So successful, in fact, some men have acquired not only a second 'wife,' they even have a third or a fourth. And like the concubines of traditional China, she gets money, gifts and usually even a house to live in from her married lover. She often even bears him children. These men purchase an apartment and support their er nai by paying them a "yearly salary" of tens of even hundreds of thousands of yuan. They enjoy "creature comforts" of having both "a wife and a concubine" (A Ling 2002, 39). The phenomenon of bao er nai presented problems for legislation on both sides. On the Mainland side, the legislators' major concern is to curb the crimes and protect the rights of legal wives. However the types and cases of bao er nai are too complicated to define which type should belong to Civil Law and which to Criminal Law. On the Hong Kong side, legislators had a hard time determining the citizenship and rights of children produced by Hong Kong men and their Mainland wives/concubines. Tan Weiping W JL2?- wrote in his article, Wu Changzhen M s?jtl, the head of a group of law-makers appointed to revise the Chinese Marriage Law, reported in 2001 that more than 60 % of all recent cases of corrupt officials were related to bao er nai and that 95 % of corrupt officials being investigated had qingfu fit$3 (mistresses). More and more cases are filed where officials started embezzling funds, and taking (demanding) bribery in order to support their mistresses. According to Wu, a survey shows that, of 200 cases of family violence, seventy percent involving facial mutilation and murder were caused by extra-marital relationships. "£> nai qu H ^ E * " 5 7 "Wives vs. concubines: Chinese province gives women the edge over husbands",. http://www.cliinatopnews.com/BBS/Square/messaaes/817.htinl, accessed on July 6. 2003. 55 (er nai neighborhoods) have appeared in some places in Guangdong, tremendously disrupting the stability of families and society (Tan 01/09/ 2001) Prostitution, along with drugs, is one of the official evils in Chinese society. It was outlawed and firmly wiped out by the Chinese Communists after 1949. It re-emerged, along with drugs, openly in the new freewheeling market economy. The United Nations reports that for rural Chinese women, "Limited employment opportunities and pressure to send money back home can lead to risky occupations such as prostitution, rates of which have increased dramatically over the last 20 years."58 A report in the July 12 issue of Beijing Evening News mentioned the fact that, in 1984, public security organs nationwide uncovered only 5,000 cases of prostitution and whoring, and investigated and prosecuted no more than 6,000 persons for such crimes. In 1999, however, nearly 220,000 such cases were uncovered, and as many as 450,000 persons were investigated and prosecuted, representing forty-four-fold and seventy-five-fold increases, respectively, as compared to 1984. This is a shocking rate of increase (A Ling 2002, 38-39). Some young women working in offices chose to become the mistresses of wealthy businessmen and officials, rather than fighting it out in an increasingly discriminatory work place." This is what people call the "xiaomi phenomenon. "Xiao" is "small" in Chinese and "mi" is the first syllable of "mishu (secretary). It also refers to "honey" ("mi H " , or "fengmi ! ^ H " ) . Therefore, "xiaomi" is an affectionate term exclusively for females, meaning "small honey secretary". If a •http://www.unchina.org/about china/html/uender.shtml,- accessed on July 6, 2003. 56 woman is called "xiaomi", it not only refers to her occupation, but most importantly also implies her mistress status to her boss. 2.2.4 Resurrection of patriarchy in popular culture The resurgence of patriarchy in popular culture reached its peak at the beginning of the 1990s, in a popular TV soap opera, Kewang MW. (Yearning or Anticipation,). Kewang is a serial melodrama with 50 episodes aired in 1990. The heroine of the story Liu Huifang MM^, leads a miserable life and ends up with paralysis in bed. Liu is depicted in this drama as a bearer of the values of Confucian patriarchy imposed on women. She is always submissive, docile, loyal, and self-sacrificing for her lover. By any reasoning, she is a typical xianqi liangmu (a virtuous wife and a good mother), a symbol of high-level morality. When this TV drama was aired, Liu Huifang became a household favorite in Beijing overnight, and the drama soon created a Yearning craze nationwide. "People talked about Yearning everywhere—in the crowded commuter buses, on the streets, in the factories, offices, stores, and at family dinner tables" (Zha 1995, 27). "According to one report, the crew received such a spectacular welcome in Nanjing that the only other comparable turnout in the history of the city was when Chairman Mao first visited there decades ago" (Zha 1995, 27). Another excellent TV drama Weicheng H l 4 ^ (Fortress Besieged), which was aired at the same time, was adapted from Qian Zhongshu f ^ t ^ ' s masterpiece novel with the same title—a truly intellectual piece of work. It was armed with a very strong crew of famous actors/actresses such as Chen Daoming F^ilPJ}, Ying Ruocheng %M, Ge You Mit, Ying Da 51 i £ and Lu Liping § 1 ^ . 57 However, Yearning surpassed Fortress Besieged by a huge margin in audience ratings. The Yearning craze captured the attention of the high-ranking leaders of the Party. On January 8, 1991, Politburo member L i Ruihuan ^Iffi^F, who controlled ideology and propaganda after the 1989 Tian'anmen Square incident, met with the Yearning crew in a reception room inside Zhongnanhai ^ \^ M,59 a big honor to the crew. "He congratulated the crew on its success and called it 'a worthy model for our literary and artistic workers.'" (Zha 1995, 28) This mass frenzy over Yearning generated debate in academic circles. Both Chinese Women Gazette (Zhongguo Funii Bao) and Mass Movie magazine (Dazhong D i a n y i n g A X ^ % ^ ) opened special columns to accommodate the debate. However, the supremacy of masculine voices almost drowned feminist voices. Most critics, same as in any other debates, focused on the implications for morality and ignored the gendered position of the debate. Again woman's virtue was used as standard of morality. The director of the drama, Lu Xiaowei # 0^M states, "Liu Huifang is not a strong woman, but we need Liu Huifang." Tong Daoming m i H ^ says, "We need a kind heart, and tender feelings that are only embodied in extremely gentle and soft women."6 0 Zha Jianying summarizes: Male viewers said that they yearned for a wife like Huifang; female viewers said that she was like a lovely sister to them. Everybody said that Yearning had brought out the best in them and made them understand 59 Zhongnanhai (Central and South Seas), immediately to the west of the Forbidden City, refers to the two large lakes in the compound. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Zhongnanhai has become the symbol of power because it has been home to the highest-ranking leaders of the CCP, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi. Offices of the Central Committee of the CCP, the State Council, the Central People's Government and Military Commission of the Party Central Committee are also located in Zhongnanhai. 6 0 Cited in Meng Xianlan, p. 105. 58 better what is meant to be Chinese and how deeply rooted they all were in the Chinese values of family and human relations—and how all of this made them yearn for Yearning every night." (1995, 27) This obviously is an uncritical summary, as the author deliberately leaves out intellectual female voices in the debate. Wang Xiaoshan BE'hSIJ's article, "Rang Liu Huifang liu zai pingmu shang, hao bu hao?" (How about Leaving Liu Huifang on the Screen?) criticizes L i u Huifang's willingness to endure humiliation and accept false blame. This kind of willingness can only encourage immorality and misconduct.61 Liu Yangti >CiJ^^ argues that the characterization of Liu Huifang is not the epitome of morality, but instead, is the epitome of decayed "morality" because Liu Huifang lacks a sense of self and fails to pursue a meaningful social role. She gives up her own will out of consideration for the interests of others, meekly submitting herself to abuses and bulling. She has no fighting spirit in her. She is capable only of sobbing. This is the 1990s' version of Sancong Side EiJAWiM (Three Submissions and Four Virtues).6 2 In "Nanquan wenhua yunyu chulai de Liu Huifang ^ ^ X f - f c ^ W t t j ^ ^ ] Mm^" ("Liu Huifang—a Product made of Patriarchy"), critics Zhang Zhiying and Wang Hong contend that the image of Liu Huifang is produced from the evil intentions of men. Zhang sees men hanging Liu Huifang up firmly on the cross with nails of beauty, decorum, kindness, endurance, virtue, and gentleness. Wang Hong questions whether men are willing to do for women all that Liu Huifang did for men? The answer is clear: No! But men still want women to do everything for them.6 3 Yearning was made by a group of male writers and a male director. It is the first work 6 1 Ibid, p. 107. 6 2 Ibid, pp. 106-107. 59 in the past forty years to entirely reassert women's roles and virtues as prescribed by Confucian patriarchy. "The effect was indeed shocking. So much so that the Women's Federation publicly complained, 'This television serial has pushed back the liberation of Chinese women by fifteen years.'" (Dai Jinhua 1999, 197) While "de facto" polygamy was practiced by wealthy men in real life, it appeared frequently as a theme in TV dramas in what Sun Longji called "the one-man and two-women" pattern (1995, 128). In these "one-man and two-women" stories, at-most only one of these women qualifies as an intellectual. In 2002,1 viewed two TV dramas made in Mainland China. Zhenqing Nanwang jiLfff^EnS (True Love Forever), made by the Dalian TV station, is a love story between a fiction writer Tang Kaiyuan ffijfft and two women — his ex-wife and his current wife. Tang's ex-wife is a clerk in a family-planning office. She is kind-hearted, straightforward, a hard-worker and a good mother. But she was not a good wife mainly because she lacks education and thus the ability to distinguish literary life her husband fictionalized from real life. A young female poet wrote a love poem and sent it to her literary teacher Tang Kaiyuan for correction. Tang's ex-wife believed that her husband had an affair with this young woman. Tang had no choice but to sign the documents of divorce initiated by his wife. The young poet then proposed a marriage with Tang and he accepted. Tang's ex-wife experienced difficulty after the divorce because of her second daughter's illness. In trying his best to help his ex-wife, Tang provoked his second wife's jealousy and put his second marriage in jeopardy. Under heavy physical and psychological pressure, Tang became seriously i l l . His ex-wife and his current 6 3 Ibid, p. 107. 60 wife made a truce to work together whole-heartedly to save his life. Although the story is touching, the inveterate theme of an innocent, superior, noble man served by self-sacrificing women is problematic. Legally Tang was living a monogamous life, but the last part of the drama shows a typical picture of "yiqi yiqie—^—(one wife and One concubine). Doushi Tianshi Rede Huo itP fk. A {M ?S (All Troubles are caused by Angels), made by the Beijing TV station, is a male-centered story of a young male doctor chased by a group of women. He is a handsome graduate from a well-known medicine university. Upon arriving to work at a hospital, he immediately became prey for young female hunters. The daughter of the president of the hospital, a Ph D holder returned from the United States, joined these hunters. The victor was a plain girl who loved the protagonist but showed the least zeal for courting him. The majority of creators of TV dramas and other forms of popular culture are male intellectuals. The gendered position of these cultural producers is either intentional or their unconsciousness of male-centeredness is constantly at work. I will examine this issue below. 2.2.5 Ever-lasting image—women, yin and water Popular sayings and idioms are a mirror reflecting an ever-lasting image of women in the mindset of men. The most popular and time-enduring folk saying known to every household is "Nuren shi huoshui X A T ^ I S - T R " (Women are sources of disasters), or "Hongyan huoshui £Lj|pR$7.K" (Pretty women are the cause of chaos and disasters). There is no evidence to show when this saying started. However the women 61 who are accused of being the cause of chaos and disasters have existed since the dawn of Chinese civilization. In his Confucianizing yin-yang dichotomy, Dong Zhongshu lit (179-104 b.c.) in the Han Dynasty (206 b.c. - 220A.D.) unequivocally aligned the female with the cosmic force of yin and the male with yang, arbitrarily asserting, "yin is mean and evil" and "yang is noble and virtuous". He clarified his assertion with examples: "Though a husband is low (in social status), he is still yang; though a wife is in the noble class, she is still yin." He repeated, " A l l in the evil category is yin, and all in the good category is yang." 6 4 Niiren in Chinese is "women"; shi means "is"; huo is "disaster"; and shui is "water", which belongs to yin category and it flows down to lower places— symbolizing lower-being. Therefore, "Niiren shi huoshui" perfectly fits the Confucianized yin-yang concept where fire is yang and water is yin; men are yang and women are yin; men are above and women are below. This folk saying as a concept deeply rooted in the mindset of Chinese men and women. It does not need to be resurrected because it has always existed. One of the examples reflecting this ever-lasting image of women recently came out from the Party-authorities in Sichuan Province. In order to keep corruption within limits, the General Office of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party stipulated regulations in two documents and promulgated them on July 15, 2003.6 5 One of these regulations was "a male leader is prohibited from having a female 6 4 Dong Zhongshu: Chunqiufanlu: Yangzun Yinbei ^^K^U'MW-Wi^-. (Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals: Yang is Noble and Yin is Abased.) 6 5 See Ren Zhengying T£JF$£, "Benmo daozhi de guiding ^ J^MTLtflMfe" (A Prescript that put the cart before the horse). Zhongguo Funu Bao, July 16, 2003. These two documents are: (1) Interim Provisions on Reinforcing the Administration and Superintending of Staff Working around Leaders (Guanyu jiaqiang dui lingdao ganbu shenbian gongzuo renyuan guanli jiandu de zanxing guiding ^ - p 62 secretary." This new promulgation immediately became controversial and was debated in articles published in many major newspapers, such as People's Daily, Guangming Daily, and Chinese Women's Gazatte. People's Daily and Guanming Daily also opened columns for wangyou 1*3 ^ (internet friends) in their websites allowing them to voice their opinions. Some wangyou support this new prohibition as the efficient way to prevent male leaders from having affairs with their female secretaries by removing the source of the temptation. Other wangyou strongly oppose the prohibition believing that it is male-centered and places false blame on women. From this controversial prohibition we can see, on the one hand, how the phenomenon of keeping "de facto" mistresses is prevalent among the Party leaders, and on the other hand, how patriarchal subconsciousness is at work in fighting corruption. A i Xiaoming jc^^M criticizes the prohibition on hiring female secretaries as a manifestation of traditional sexism, "Women are sources of disasters."66 One' website debater observes, "Women are falsely blamed for more than two thousands years. When can women get rid of this notorious badge of 'huoshui ? S t K ? ' " Guangming Daily posted a survey question on its website, "Recently Sichuan Province promulgated a provision: 'Male officials are prohibited from having female secretaries.' Do you think this provision should be popularized in the whole country?" On July 31, 2003, the tally showed that 264 (42.31%) respondents said, "yes", 279 (44.72%) said, "no", and 81 (12.99) said, "Don't know." M t t ® # ^ A i & I f £ A i a ' i f f i J J £ ^WilMH); (2) Behavior Standards of Staff Working around Leaders (lingdaoganbushenbian gongzuo renyuanxingwei guifan ^^^^iMULT-W Xm^J 6 6 Ai Xiaoming : "Gao fazhi, haishi jin 'niise' tltfiVn - i S ^ ^ A ' f e ? " (Rule by law, or bar women?), Zhongguo /unit bao, July 17, 2003. 63 The Party-state and male intellectuals made no effort to retract the false blame on women as sources of disasters. Instead, they reinforced the ever-lasting image of women in the mindset of Chinese people. 2.3 Challenges to Masculinity and Responses of the Male Intellectual Elite The theory of power and discourse developed by French philosopher Michel Foucault can help us understand the relationship of Chinese intellectuals to the Party-state and to women. Foucault believes that "power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with." Instead, power is something "exercised" (1978, 93), is something forming "a complex interplay of elements that counterbalance and correct one another" (1985, 25). The power exercise in China during mid-1980s and mid-90s illustrates how the interplay of elements was made and counterbalanced in the two battlefields mentioned earlier and how the counterbalance was tilted and even broken. Wang Jing points out, "Future historians will remember the 1980s in China as a period of Utopian vision on the one hand and an era of emergent crises on the other" (1991, 1). One of these crises faced by Chinese intellectuals is the crisis of emasculation, or to put it another way: all of these crises converge into one psychological crisis—emasculation. The issue of the emasculation crisis surfaced in a variety of ways through the 1990s, but central to this issue was the concern with and the quest for power and control.67 Chinese male intellectuals were obsessed with this Kam Louie, 1991, p. 2 on the online version. 64 concern because they understood that "Men cannot be men, only eunuchs, if they are not in control." (Taylor 2000, 9) In the struggle for power and control, Chinese male intellectuals were on two battlefields: one was the struggle with the Party-state and the other was the struggle with women. They failed on the first battlefield. The Party-state caused their emasculation a second time after their initial emasculation during the Cultural Revolution. The struggle for power on the second battlefield is still going on. 2.3.1 The power struggle with the Party-state During the early 1980s, the political climate encouraged previously suppressed intellectuals to speak out. Intellectual discourse was filled with the indictment of the Cultural Revolution and critical introspection of what went wrong. Most intellectuals were still cautious, trying not to show their direct defiance against the Party. Having learned a lesson from their previous-painful encounters with the Party-state, they preferred "staying within legal limits in their activities and avoiding direct confrontation" (Chen & Jin 1997, 171). They protected themselves by claiming their Marxist-Maoist allegiance and expressing their patriotism. For example, Bai Hua's Q ffi film manuscript, Bitter Love (Kulian echoed the feelings of his countrymen with a big question: "I love my motherland, but does my motherland love me?" The question conveys the intended message, but first, he must clearly claim, "I love my motherland" to justify his critical position. Zhang Xianliang's ambitious nine-volume series was entitled: The Revelations of A Materialist (Weiwuzhuyi Zhe de Qishilu I'fi'-f^ f ^X^^)\%TFW). In the preface of Mimosa (Luhuashu %k\kM), the first work in this 65 series published in 1984, the author states his regret for having "indiscriminately absorbed feudal and bourgeois culture." He characterizes the subject of the series as "a young Chinese from a bourgeois family, brought up on hazy notions of humanism and democracy, who after a long 'ordeal' finally becomes a Marxist." (Zhang Xianliang 1985) From the mid-1980s to the end of the 1980s,- intellectuals shed their theoretical/ideological disguises and demonstrated their free thoughts and their true positions. This period (1984-1989) turns out to be the most divergent and most pluralistic in the past four decades in terms of freedom of speech. The primary factor contributing to it was the seeming first round victory of intellectuals over the Party. They had cautiously tested the Party and the response from the Party was the "purge spiritual pollution" campaign of 1983-84. Compared to the persecution of intellectuals in the 1957 anti-rightist campaign and the Cultural Revolution, this political campaign was perceived as mild and undamaging. Their interpretation (proven wrong in 1989) encouraged intellectuals to get rid of the yoke of Party control and openly bargain with the Party for an independence from the Party line. Liu Zaifu's thesis on subjectivity in literature was based on the ontological nature of literature,, or its inner system, implying a separation of literature from the external forces of politics. "His analysis of subjectivity in literature and human character brought him under heavy criticism from the authorities and he was placed under house arrest for several months in 1985" (Lee, 1996, 104-105). The struggle for power between the Party and intellectuals seeking their autonomy became intensified in 1987 as the Party launched the "anti-bourgeois liberalization" campaign. Intellectuals held their ground as Su Xiaokang's TV 66 documentary — Heshang (the Yellow River Elegy) marked the peak of this period of free speech. During this period, intellectuals "were manifest to themselves as a powerful collective agent of change, and this self-representation was affirmed through well-publicized projects, appointments at leading government sponsored think tanks, and favorable media attention." (Davies 2001, 19) The core of the struggle was for independence from Party control, or for the right to be 'apolitical', in Rey Chow's terms (1993, 39). However, Chow argues, the aspiration to be 'apolitical' is nothing but an illusion. As long as Chinese intellectuals harbor the illusion that what they do can be "apolitical," the authoritarianism which throughout Chinese history has put intellectual work at the mercy of official political power will never be checked. In this light, even the undoubtedly ideological humanism in Fang [Lizhij's defense of the "independence of knowledge" is itself a form of political intervention, because it represents a major opposition against the officializing of knowledge that either makes it subservient to the state or reduces it to ineffective metaphysical inquiry • of a "scholarly" nature. "Independence" as such is not an ontological autonomy but a freedom from political determination, and as such it is a radical challenge to the basic "legal" conditions that currently secure the stability of the Chinese state. (1993,39) I will provide more historical and philosophical evidence in Chapter Three that causes Chinese intellectuals unlikely to be "apolitical". The third period in the struggle between the Party-state and intellectuals is post 1989. The Tian'anmen Square demonstration was the largest and the final challenge of intellectuals to the party line. It was a risky and radical action that ended with failure. The Party took back all political power and ideological control, wasting no time in 67 steering the country in the direction of deepening economic reforms and commercialization. The result was that the Party disempowered intellectuals without bearing the mark of a persecution, as commercialization appears to follow an objective law independent of man's will. Wang Jing regards the decade of the 1980s as one during which the state and the intellectual elite tried to reconstruct their own Utopian projects: a socialist Utopia for the state and a Utopian discourse of enlightenment for the intellectual elite (1996, 2). However, "the June Fourth crackdown accentuated the irreconcilability of the state Utopian project with that of the intellectuals." (ibid, 3) Therefore, this decade's effort in promoting ideological/cultural pluralism, in struggling for power, and in pursuing ideological negotiations with the Party had an abortive closure. Defeated Chinese intellectuals, the majority of them males, were emasculated again in the sense that they were deprived of their elite role in the spotlight on the national stage. They reverted to a position of powerlessness. -Regarding the literary works discussed in the following three chapters, Zhang Xianliang's Half of Man is Woman is the product of the first period, or to be more precise, it is a transitional product between the first and the second periods; Mo Yan's Red Sorghum demonstrates the liberal spirit of the second period, and Jia Pingwa's Abandoned Capital is the perfect signifier of the third period. 2.3.2 The power struggle with women Defeated on the first battlefield by the state, male intellectuals were by no means powerless on the second battlefield with women. In fact, they were and still are 68 in a dominant position. This battle is not over yet, and perhaps can never be over. Powerless and anxious males sought to prove their manliness through affirmation from women. As a result, the relationship between the state, male intellectuals and women appeared as a construction of social class. The state with unchallengeable power was on the top, defeated male intellectuals were in the middle, and women were at the bottom still fighting for more space and "still fighting to be recognized as equals" (Larson 2002, 176). While the state emasculated the intellectuals, the resurgent folk practice of patriarchy and the revitalization of Confucianism reinforced male power over women. 6 8 Male struggle for power over women in the social domain is manifested in various phenomena, such as men's persistent indifference to women's issues; men's resistant interpretation of women's liberation; men's insistence on the division of labor based on gender, and male intellectuals' openly voiced sexism. a. Indifferent and gender-blind authors/critics It is not so difficult to find chapters or sections dedicated to gender analysis in books written by Western historians, political scientists, anthropologists and literary critics in the past ten years. The discursive denial of gender equality in China during the 1980s up to the present is evident in the gender-blind perspective dominating almost all debates, discussions and publications that are not directly related to gender issues, and in the indifferent attitude of men toward the debates, discussions, and 6 8 The CCP showed its tolerance for the resurgence of patriarchy and revitalization of Confucianism for at lease two reasons: first, after long political campaigns in China, the Party learned its lessons. If they leave no space for people, it would be difficult to raise the morale of the nation. Second, China experienced an ideological crisis and the Party was not able to create a new ideology that could substitute for Confucianism or communism. Following rulers of the past, the Party adopted a policy of control through mollification. The key boundary the Party seeks to maintain is that nobody is allowed to challenge the communist regime. 69 publications that explicitly focus on gender issues. I have examined a large number of reference books for this research. About half of these books are authored in the past decade either by Chinese scholars from Mainland China or by Western-educated Chinese. I hoped to find a book that does not directly focus on gender issues but contains gender consciousness. Unfortunately I found none. One example to illustrate my search is Zhuxi yu Zhongguo Wenhua M ^ t l M (Zhuxi and Chinese Culture) authored by Cai Fanglu MJTJtiL. It was published by Guizhou Renmin Chubanshe (Guiyang) in 2000. It has often been argued that Zhuxi's neo-Confucianism exerted a significant influence on gender roles and gender relations and should be responsible for the oppression of women after the Song Dynasty. This book looks very ambitious as it contains 505 pages, twelve chapters and a bibliography, but not one of the twelve chapters, or even a single paragraph mentions Zhuxi's sexist philosophy. This is not a surprising discovery because the absence of gender consciousness is too common to attract attention. Zha Jianying's China Pop, which I quoted previously, was written in English and published in New York. Out of the seven chapters, one (Chapter Two) analyzes the T V drama Yearning. As discussed above, this popular drama revived patriarchy as a topic of discussion and debate in post-Mao popular culture. The author, instead of reflecting on a holistic picture of positive and negative feedback, selected male and female voices that support patriarchal bias, and all the responses reported in this book are one-sided. Several literary critiques published during the 1980s and 90s are important to mention. In 1980, Shen Rong i S W published a short story, Ren dao Zhongnian A I ' J • ^ ^ ( A t Middle Age). It questions the double role imposed on middle-aged female 70 intellectuals. The female protagonist Lu Wenting $n3cW became exhausted trying to fulfill her double role as a "virtuous wife and good mother" (xianqi liangmu) and a successful occulist. She fails and suffers a heart attack from over-work and harassment by a Marxist Old Lady. Male-centered critics interpreted the theme of this story as "the problem of middle-age intellectuals", rather than "the difficulties of middle-age female intellectuals."69 After Zhang Xianling published Half of Man is Woman, which I will analyze in the following chapter, Ningxia People's House compiled 44 critiques written between October 1985 and September 1986 into one book, On Half of Man is Woman W ((JB A l ^ J ^ ^ ^ ' ^ A ) ) , published in 1987. Although the eye-catching title tells readers that this is the story about men and women, only two critics, Lu Rongchun P i^^# and Zhu Yijun ^.^M, show gender consciousness. A third article by Wei Junyi ^MB, merely expresses the author's uncomfortable feelings when she read the story as a woman reader.70 There is no critical analysis from a gender perspective in this collection, and forty one of the forty four critics, regardless of whether or not they support or oppose Zhang's characterization, are completely gender-blind. Numerous collections of critiques were published about Feidu and Jia Pingwa. The one that sounds most academic is Feidu Daping { » A W (Grand Commentaries on The Abandoned Capital) edited by Fei Bingxun mjtjli. It includes 6 9 Also see Li Xiaojiang 1997, 95-96. 7 0 Lu Rongchun. "Zhanshi de zitaiyan buzhu beiqie de linghun &±tf}-<g&M^fi£ ^f£rfi^5&" (A posture as a soldier cannot conceal a mean and cowardly soul), 62-68. Zhu Yijun : " ' Yiban' de beijuyu beiju de yiban ' — ^ ' i^i-M^jilBM^—^" (Half s tragedy and Half of tragedy), 285-88. Wei Junyi: "Yiben changxiaoshu yinqi desikao ~^M'jj^f P'JI 3§f%S^;" (A thought generated by a best-selling book), 29-30. All in Ningxia renmin chubanshe, 1987. 71 twenty two powerful articles from renowned contemporary critics, such as Lei Da H j£ , He Xilai { 5 J H ^ , Wang Furen 3 : m C Ding Fan T I H , and Zeng Zhennan H U l f . Out of the twenty two articles, plus the postscript by the editor, only one by Zhang Zhizhong irfc Jc* analyzes the novel from a gender perspective. This case is particularly unusual as Zhang Zhizhong is a male critic. 7 1 Unconscious gender-blindness and indifference are derived from male superiority and arrogance, though the holders of these traits might not be well aware of them. Men are too used to andocentrism in all discourses to feel its existence. For men conscious indifference toward gender issues is a way to keep cool and thus maintain manliness. As the folk saying goes, "Hao nan bu he nu dou $ ? ^ ^ 5 I X 4 - . " (A good man never fights women.) b. The controlling power of male intellectual elite over women's liberation In her Introduction to Gender and Sexuality, Lu Tongliri provides an insightful discussion on the phenomenon of "the persistence of salvation-thinking" within the new socialist discourse. "Women's salvation has been an obsession with Chinese intellectuals since the turn of the twentieth century." (Lu 1993a, 3) This obsession was carried on by the socialist revolutionaries and appeared overtly in the socialist-realism literature arid art. She mentions two famous plays as examples. One is Tian Han's The White-Haired Girl.72 The female protagonist being rescued and exiting her grotto 7 1 See Zhang Zhizhong 1998, pp. 61-82. 72 "The White-Haired Girl (Baimao Nu), a play written by a communist playwright, Tian Han, during the 1940s. A peasant girl, Xi'er, is raised by her widowed father, Yang Bailao, who works as a long-term hired hand for a rich landlord, Huang Shiren. Unable to pay the usury of his landlord, Yang is forced to commit suicide. After his death, Huang takes his daughter as payment for her father's debt. Whether 'or not Xi'er has been raped by her father's creditor has been an important issue in the 72 symbolizes not only "the liberation of the labor class in the socialist revolution" (ibid, 4), but also "the salvation of the oppressed peasant woman by the Communist Party" (ibid, 3). However, she argues, "Salvation, be it Christian, socialist, or revolutionary, implies a hierarchy" because "Women, after being saved symbolically and glamorously, finally always return to the bottom rung of a new hierarchy, which is patriarchal in yet another way" (ibid, 3). Dai Jinhua gives another example where a CCP male member is the true savior and leader of Chinese women. In The Red Detachment of Women, "Hong Changqing provides the ransom to rescue the bondmaid Wu Qionghua from the dungeon; he subsequently instructs her to head for the Revolution, steering her each step of the way as she becomes a revolutionary heroine." (Dai 2002, 113) Two parties are needed to establish this new hierarchical "salvation theory": one is the savior and the other is the saved. In Lu's terms: "Who is the subject of, or the subject to, salvation?" (1993a, 6).-From the above examples, we can see clearly subsequent adaptations of this play. Originally, she gives birth to a child and even has illusions about her future with the old landlord. When the play successively became a film, a ballet, and finally a film version of the revolutionary ballet during the Cultural Revolution (it was one of the only eight films to which one billion Chinese people had access during the decade of the Cultural Revolution), Xi'er is gradually turned into a brave rebel, who protects her virginity at the risk of her life. The rest of the story is less controversial than the heroine's problematic virginity. She takes refuge on a mountain top and eats wild fruits in order to survive. For want of salt, her hair turns completely white. In the end, she is saved by her run-away lover, Dachun, who has by then become a communist soldier. All ends well. The evil landlord is righteously punished, and her revolutionary lover saves her through marriage." (Lu 1993a, 19) 7j The Red Detachment of Women (Hongse niangzijun feEfeMT^), a film directed by Xie Jin in 1961, was adapted into a ballet and premiered in 1964. The story comes from the 1930s. Wu Qionghua }[-£ was a slave girl of Nanbatian pWifn .^ Hong Changqing Y&'fft'iw, a rich businessman from Southern Asia in disguise and a true CCP member, visited Nanbatian and found Wu imprisoned in a dungeon. He paid the ransom and freed her. Finding no means to live, Wu decided to join the Red Detachment of Women. Unexpectedly, she found out that Hong is the political instructor and the only man in this women's army. Under Hong's leadership, Wu becomes a revolutionary heroine. Hong becomes a martyr at the end of the play. 73 that Communist men and oppressed women form these two parties.74 This theory implies questions: "Do Chinese male intellectuals accept 'salvation hypothesis' conceptualized from a feminist perspective?" "Do Chinese men openly claim that they are saviors of women?" Merely by consulting scholarly books/articles or attending conferences and meetings, one might not be able to find answers to these two questions. Here my personal experience and observations illustrate the existence and persistence of the salvation theory. About a couple of years ago I had a dinner with two male anthropologists in a town in Oregon. At the dining table we talked about women's status in China—a casual but academic conversation. One anthropologist, originally from Beijing, taught an anthropology class with a gender focus at an American university. He said that Chinese women's liberation was different from that in the United States. "Chinese women did not make any effort but were given liberation by generous Chinese men. They gained a lot that used to belong to men. Men sacrificed a lot that now goes to women, but women are still not satisfied. They are abusing the rights to them given by men." This statement confirms that Lu's summary is on solid ground: "Women's emancipation is a gift imposed by the Communist Party, which used this gesture as a marker of its progressive stance" (Lu 1993a, 7). My interlocutor equates Chinese men to the Communist Party for the reason mentioned above as he needs to oscillate (or 7 4 Lu equates men to women in the sense that both sexes had to become obedient instruments of the party who set up the new hierarchy (1993a, 8). Here I equate Chinese male intellectuals to the party who saved oppressed women. These two approaches are not contradictory. In Foucault's sense, power is established from innumerable exercises. Lu's emphasis is on the outcome of the power exercise on the first battlefield, whereas I focus on the process of the going-on power exercise—the ideological preference of men who are on the second battlefield fighting women. Fighting on two battlefields, Chinese intellectual men constantly reposition themselves within the context containing three parties: the Party-state, men and women, and oscillate to the Party side or to women's side based on the circumstances. I will discuss more thoroughly on this topic in the conclusion of Chapter VI. 74 reposition) to the Party line to deal with women. His argument, however, fails to consider two points of logic: (1) If women were given rights by men, then who gave men so many privileges? (2) Men enjoyed these privileges for more than 2000 years. Why can they not tolerate women enjoying their basic rights for twenty years? My reason for using my personal experience in discussing this scholarly topic is that Chinese male intellectuals do not print out their overtly androcentric statements in their publications or voice them in conferences. A frank viewpoint like this and its implications can more easily be heard in casual conversations.75 I have plenty of evidence from real life to prove the existence and persistence of this sort of male understanding of women's liberation. I would like to use my male interlocutor's frank talk as a key to understanding contemporary Chinese male intellectuals and to continuing the exploration within this salvation framework. Why are they reluctant to carry on the legacy of male writers of the May Fourth Movement to help Chinese women advance toward liberation, while being content to reposition them into another hierarchical social structure? They believe that Chinese women have already obtained more than they deserve; that Chinese men, compared to men in other societies, have already contributed greatly to women's liberation; that Chinese women should not be continuously spoiled to the point where they show the tendency to prevail over men, and most importantly, that they perceive the real power holders of Chinese women's liberation within this salvation discourse to be the male intellectual elite, the male cream of crop who are the 7 5 Nowadays the development of internet has provided more channels for people to voice/exchange their opinions These online forums are less academic and less scholarly. However, one can hear true voices from these forums as we do from casual conversations. Recently, as the internet debates on 75 leaders of women's liberation. If they can generously grant freedom, rights and equality to women, they can take them back by rolling back gender roles according to the prescription of Confucian hierarchy. I have to remind readers again that I am not saying all Chinese male intellectuals hold such opinions, but they are not rare.76 Their perspective is coded in phrases heard in casual conversations, for example, "Shikeerzhi iiinTiTD l h " (Stop before going too far, or don't overdo it), "Buyao tai tan Alfe" (Don't be too greedy), "Buyao qizai nanren toushang ^M^-tt^i Ajk-h" (Don't ride on man's neck; don't prevail over men). These are phrases my male intellectual friends and professors frequently used in their casual talk about women's issues. c. Rectification of women's liberation by male elite. Since they believe that controlling power of women's liberation rests in the hands of men, male intellectual elite can show their sense of responsibility by rectifying any wayward tendency in women's liberation. My research reveals that male intellectuals carried out their rectification by (1) insisting on the division of labor by gender, (2) sexual reductionism and (3) reifying models for women as prescribed by Confucian patriarchy. To highlight the problem, L i Xiaojiang uses an elite man's question as the title of the introduction to her book, "Have you gone in the wrong direction?" In the book L i Xiaojiang tells how she checked into a four-star hotel in Sanya City, Hainan changes in gender relationship in Mainland China have escalated, similar viewpoints to those of male intellectuals are voiced often. 7 6 For the overall viewpoint of Chinese male intellectuals on gender, women's role and women's liberation, see Peng Guoliang's (ed.) two books: Yibaige nanren tan niiren —~5yt~% Aii^^C A (One . Hundred Men Talk about Women), Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe, 1994; Yibeige nanren tan 76 province. Recognizing L i Xiaojing as a prominent scholar on women studies, the General Manager of the hotel could not wait to ask a question that had bothered him for a long time. Before they sat comfortably, he asked, "Have you gone in the wrong direction?" "I mean you women. I am wondering i f Chinese women's liberation sets foot on the wrong path." L i observes, "He believes that Chinese women's liberation 'had gone too far.'" For him, the consequence of this "overdone" liberation is that "women are not like women and men are not like men—he said that his opinion represents that of many men. It is based on love from 'real men' who sympathize with women" (Li Xiaojiang 1997, 1). (I will inform readers here that Jia Pingwa voiced exactly same opinion as the General Manager of the hotel. I will discuss Jia Pingwa in Chapter Five.) The General Manager concluded that women should go home, the right place for them, because a warm family is not only good for family members, but also for cultivating a real woman who is mild, kind and virtuous (Li Xiaojing 1997, 1-2). Liu Zaifu might be the best spokesman on woman's liberation for male power holders who use discursive power to rectify women's wrong direction. Liu is a prominent literary theorist in China 7 7. In his article, "Jiefang' de Kunhuo 'fflWC fitlS (The Perplexity of "Liberation"), he problematizes what he called "the paradox" (beilun f^ife) of the women's liberation and justifies the resurgence of Confucian patriarchy (in his terms, "conservatism") with his theory on the balance between individual choice and limited social and natural space. He argues that the paradox of the women's liberation derives from women's higher social status and the glorification niiren, xuji — A'life & AM^M (One hundred Men Talk about Women, A Sequal), Changsha: Hunan renmim chubanshe, 2001. 77 of women, which has multiplied psychological pressure in women's minds. In addition, competition in society has become more intensified due to the rapid development of science and technology. Resurgent conservatism opposes the notion that more pressure imposed on women's minds is a good thing. Liu believes that calling attention to the paradox of women's liberation should not be treated as "reactionary". He claims that he is perplexed with (actually highly thinks of) the Japanese solution to intensified competition and increased psychological pressure on women. ... many [Japanese] companies adopt the policies of lifetime employment and seniority. The management of a company bears many marks of running a family. A l l Japanese women, including intellectuals, stay at home. It seems as i f society does not welcome these capable and sensible women and does not give full rein to their potential. Probably Japanese society possesses a magical power to find balance, which guides the designers of modern civilization in Japan not to allow women to participate excessively in the competitive world of men. Our limited social and natural space does not need that many capable and intelligent organisms. Japanese society has created such an existential pattern for women. Does it mean suppressing talent on purpose, or is it a result of a natural coordination between the individual choice and the space for a social development? I have been perplexed by this question (1991,136). This is a misreading of trends in Japan where young women are entering the workforce and are reluctant to marry and bear children. Liu questions which criterion we should adopt forjudging women's liberation. Should women pursue greatness and wage a desperate struggle as men do, or should they be satisfied with ordinariness and enjoy feminine happiness? Which is the way of women's liberation? His opinion is that we should totally respect women's choices. If women choose to stay at home to take care of their husbands and children, to do housework, and read books, we should 7 7 During the 1980s, Liu Zaifu was Director of the Literature Research Unit of the Academy of Social 78 respect their choice and not regard them as good-for-nothing. If some women choose to go out into society, to struggle, to compete with men and to show their strong masculine dispositions, we should respect their choice too (Liu Zaifu 1991, 137). Liu's perspective sounds very logical, understanding, and supportive of women's liberation. However, his view is typical of men's condescending attitude toward women. In his mind, the traditional notion of domains based on gender and the division of labor by gender is at work. He takes for granted that the balance between individual choice and limited social and natural space is a women's issue; he takes for granted that the choice between work outside and staying at home is a women's issue. In other words, struggle and competition in society is a men's domain. If a woman wants to work outside the family, men would condescendingly say, "Welcome to join US. Welcome to come into OUR domain". He takes for granted that to go home is women's choice but not men's choice. The subtext is clear: housework is a women's domain. L i Xiaojiang raises the critical question, "For men, 'employment' is something taken for granted. 'Unemployment' is a problem. On the contrary, for women, employment has become a 'problem'—whose theory is this?" (1997, 125). Wendy Larson also points out: In term of social practice, it is difficult to ignore that a man could unquestionably engage in a wide range of non-kin and nonfamilial activities, while a woman who tried to do likewise would be criticized, barred, or symbolically enveloped within a debate about the propriety of her behavior." (1998, 37) Sciences in Beijing and Chief Editor of the journal Literary Criticism (Wenxue Pinglun). 79 As for sexual reductionism, some male critics of Jia Pingwa take for granted that men represent the mainstream of humanity and that women's quest for equality is questionable because men and women are fundamentally different. In a discussion on Mother's Day between Jia Pingwa and his critics, Sun Jianxi #JAL1I, Jia's biographer and spokesman, states: Just as Jia Pingwa said in his essay On Women, today's society is male-centered. If you don't acknowledge this social reality, and don't acknowledge the differences between women and men in their physical strength, energy and intelligence, you would possess no universal significance. Some women are successful in their careers, such as Margaret Thatcher, Song Qihgling, and even some female writers in China. However their success has no instructive significance to ordinary working class women. What proportion of the whole female population are successful women? One out of ten thousand? Or one out of a hundred million? Therefore, this quest [for equality with men] is biased and unrealistic. We should discuss the happiness and the values of life that most working class women pursue on the coordinate axis of those women themselves. To keep their lives peaceful and their love sustainable, ordinary women should find a way to get along with their husbands harmoniously and try to pass through periods of conflict as quickly as possible (Hua, Qing: 1993, 53). The experience of male creators of the TV drama, Yearning, in mapping out its plot is the best example of how male elite reified Confucian patriarchy and turned a popular form of entertainment into a vivid modern text book of Admonitions for Women 7 9, and Women's Analects8 0. The cast of schemers consisted of five men.8 1 7 8 Also see the example of and analysis on sexual reductionism presented by Lu Tonglin (1993a, 8-9). 7 9 "The Women's Admonitions was a textbook written by the Eastern Han female historiographer and educationalist Ban Zhao for the instruction of her daughters. The entire book has seven chapters: "Humble Yielding," "Husband and Wife," "Reverent Submission," "The Actions of a Woman," 80 They decided, for example, that their show must be about the family and moral values with which the majority of its audience could identify. They also decided that the central character must be a virtuous, filial woman, who would appeal to the sentiments of the elderly, a considerable portion of TV's regular audience in China—and they wanted her to be a woman in the prime of her beauty, with qualities that would fulfill the desires of all Chinese men. (Zha Jianying 1995, 38) In this case the conscious effort of male elite intellectuals is evident in controlling ideological reconstruction by controlling discourse. d. Openly articulated sexism L i Xiaojiang states, "In today's society, there are few men opposing 'equality between men and women' openly" (1997, 4). Generally speaking, this statement is true. However, coupled with the resurgence of patriarchy in mass practice, some male intellectuals openly voice their sexist attitudes towards women. Sun Longji observers, "Devotion," "Bending in Submission," and "Uncles and Sisters." This work may be called the earliest example in China of a specialist text for the education of women." (Zhang Mingqi. 1987. "The Four Books for Women Ancient Chinese texts for the education of women." B. C. Asian Review, volume 1. http://www.cic.sfu.ca/NACC/articles/fourbookwoman.html. accessed 22/06/2002.) . 8 0 "The Women's Analects was written by the Tang [618 - 907] dynasty female scholar Song Ruoxin for the main purpose of instructing her daughter how to become a 'wise and worthy woman.' Its form imitated the Analects, with the pre-Qin female classics scholar Xuan Wenjun replacing Confucius, and Cao Dajia (that is, Ban Zhao) replacing the disciples, exchanging questions and answers to expound the feudal standards for the proper behavior of women, in particular proposing many concrete norms of behavior. Her younger sister Ruozhao made an exposition of Song Ruoxin's work. The Women's Analects that is presently preserved bears the attribution 'written by Cao Dajia' and has twelve. sections in all: 'Establishing Oneself,' 'Study and Action,' 'Study and Ritual,' 'Early Rising,' 'Serving Father and Mother,' 'Serving Uncles and'Aunts,' 'Serving the Husband,' 'Training Sons and Daughters,' 'Managing the House,' 'Waiting on Guests,' 'Yielding in Harmony,' and 'Being Faithful to the Dead.' The sentences are all four-word rhymed texts, not cast in question-and-answer form. It does not appear that this is the original work of Song Ruoxin, and it may perhaps be Song Ruozhao's expository text." (ibid.) 81 The famous novelists Zheng Wanlong and Wang Shuo, script editor Li Xiaoming, the deputy director at the Beijing Television Art Center, Zheng Xiaolong, and the head of the Beijing Broadcasting Enterprise Bureau, Chen Changben. 81 More than once I have heard Chinese high-ranking intellectuals quoting an aphorism from the hero of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei: "For men, women are just a cloth. You can change or take it off at any time." Sometimes, they even speak these brave words in the presence of their wives. Today in the United States, such a talk may lead to a divorce. However in China, it seems both sides of a couple perceive that "a big husband" should be this way (Sun Longji 1995, 35). A male literary critic openly proclaims that men are higher beings who "have a higher life goal." He implies that women are no more than biological beings and declares, "'men' must transcend 'women', because 'men' are not merely equivalent to biological human skin" (Shi 1987, 312). The implication of this statement is obvious in that it equates women to animals who have only biological significance. The same critic uses "nanren % A " (male), "niiren i£ A " (female) and "ren A " (neutral term for "human being") several times in the same article. Whenever he talks about "ren de jiazhi AfitlifMl." (the value of a human being), or "ren de zunyan A & i J ^ / ^ " (the dignity of a human being), he really means "the value of man" and "the dignity of man", even though he is using the unmarked term, "ren A". He takes it for granted that women should be excluded from this unmarked category of "human being". His discussion of Zhang Xianliang's humanness occurs in the context of the polarization of men and women as human beings versus animals. Let us examine the following statement by Shi Tianhe ^EAM, ...Under this circumstance, you, Zhang Yonglin, are still infatuated with having food, drinks and women, the lower-level life of a farm-worker. You are heartless. Are you counted as a ren [a human being]? [You are a] Beast! (Shi 1987, 311) 82 Here man, as represented by the male protagonist Zhang Yonglin HJLTKM, symbolizes a whole human being, while woman, as represented by female protagonist Huang Xiangjiu H U f A , is equated to food and animals. Shi Tianhe feels no guilt at all when he degrades half of humanity to the level of animals. If polarization of this sort is accepted as the major premise of the discussion on humanness, then Shi Tianhe's bias makes sense: "man must transcend woman" because transcending women means transcending one's animal's nature to become human. 2.4 Summary In the Chinese context power is the key to the construction of masculinity. As Kam Louie points out, Just as sexual dominance can be transferred into the political realm, political and economic power can also be perceived as sexual prowess. When powerful men such as Henry Kissinger observe that power is an aphrodisiac, they are merely reinforcing an ideology perpetrated by those with political and economic might (2002, 95). During the 1980s and 1990s, power struggles between Chinese intellectual elite and the Party-state and between male intellectuals and women occurred within a hierarchical structure of class and gender. Having disempowered intellectuals, the Party-state remained standing on the top of the hierarchy. Intellectuals who struggled hard to shed the yoke of state control remained in the middle and women who had least ideological and discursive resources to use in their struggle remain at the bottom. The paradigm was of the masculine state versus feminine intellectuals; masculine 83 intellectuals versus feminine women (and masculine urbanite versus feminine peasants [I will discuss this paradigm in my case analysis on Mo Yan's Red Sorghum]). Power relationships are analogous in the two parallel relationships between the state and intellectuals and between male intellectuals and women. In the first relationship, the state is the power holder and intellectuals are controlled; in the second relationship, male intellectuals are power holders and women are controlled. The state once practiced a policy of control over intellectuals through political relaxation; male intellectuals once generously granted freedom, rights and equality to women and condescendingly accepted women into male's domains. The state felt that intellectuals had strayed too far from its prescribed direction and that there was a tendency for them to be out of control of the state; male intellectuals felt that women liberation had strayed too far from the "right" direction and that there was a tendency for women to reject the paradigm of femininity preferred by men. The state disempowered intellectuals by launching the country on a path of economic reforms and commercialization; male intellectuals then tried to disempower women by rolling back gender roles and division of labor by gender according to Confucian hierarchy. The state controls the media to maintain its power; male intellectuals control discourses on gender to maintain the supremacy of male subjectivity. The state relies on military force to crack down on rebellious intellectuals; male intellectuals rely on the force of mass communication in popular culture to resurrect Confucian patriarchy and suppress presumptuous women. While male intellectuals single-mindedly resisted and rebelled against the hegemonic control of the state, they were not aware that what they did to women was the same as what the state did to them. 84 Although economic reform and commercialism threatened women's established social status and toughened their lives, it simultaneously provided opportunities for women to explore new spheres where they would play more significant roles in social and economic life. Many urban "nuqiangren A" (strong women) assumed the leading roles in companies and enterprises, and many "dagongmei J J X ^ " (rural migrant female workers in cities) established new lives in cities. However, disempowered intellectuals have not yet taken back their central position in society. From the interactions, negotiations and struggles within the hierarchical social structure of the state, intellectuals and women, we can see that the masculine structure of the state is the real power holder. When male intellectuals held certain power (granted by the state), they felt they were spokesmen for the country, thus a masculine elite; when they were disempowered, they felt emasculated. They experienced pressures from both sides — top and bottom — seriously trying to resolve a crisis in their losing masculinity by embracing Confucian patriarchy and rolling back gender relations and gender roles. Can they resolve their crisis of emasculation by resurrecting Confucian patriarchy? Can they release psychological pressures caused by their emasculation complex? Or will they proceed only to bring more agony upon themselves? My studies of three male writers will provide a clear and decisive answer. Through my examination of three representative works and of the social/cultural context in which these works were created, I have found that Chinese male writers habitually embrace certain elements to reclaim their lost masculinity. No matter what kind of ideology they espouse to, these elements frequently appear in their novels and thus become indispensable building blocks (or constancies) of a stable 85 paradigm. The more research, the clearer is this stable structure gradually emerging to the surface. I will frame the remainder of this dissertation here with this stable paradigm which contains four constancies: (1) Power is the key attribute in defining Chinese masculinity. (2) Hierarchy is the structure within which ideal masculinity is constructed and consolidated; (3) the state (including politics, nationalism, and patriotism), male intellectuals and women are three indispensable, intertwined dimensions within which male intellectuals maneuver to bargain for their masculinity; and (4) the philosophical/ideological past is the inexhaustible source of inspiration and justification for restoring lost masculinity.. The key element that links these four constancies is the sense of position that forms an obsession for Chinese intellectuals. In asking two fundamental questions, "Where am I?" and "Who am I?", Chinese intellectuals, more often than not, address the "where" question first when they are in an uncertain social environment. They must find out "Where I am" in order to define "Who I am." How does this obsession with position link the four constancies: power, hierarchy, three dimensions and past? (1) A position reveals i f a person (or a social group) occupying this position is powerful or not; (2) A meaningful position must be a part of a vertical (hierarchical) structure, rather than a location within a horizontal layout; (3) Without knowing "where I am", one cannot maneuver in the context containing three parties: the Party-state, male intellectuals and women. One would not know what attitude to take and what behavior would be correct; and (4) A position must be justified and thus backed up by a canonically or traditionally accepted ideology. After establishing "Where I am", the Self and Others are repositioned in a hierarchical social structure to reconstruct "Who I am" and "Who they are", especially 86 in terms of ideal masculinity. Among those Others, almost no exception in all three novels, women are "(re)positioned" as gatekeepers in a horizontal zone, no higher, no lower, that divides two fundamentally different worlds of men. Keeping in mind this sense of position/reposition and the four constancies, readers can understand the similar masculine structures of the three novels, which will be discussed in the conclusion in Chapter VI . The discourse on manhood in China is new, but the paradigms of the three authors containing four constancies for constructing manhood are not new; they emerged from China's history and tradition. Within this ideological/cultural context and focusing on these constancies, I will examine three fictional works by Zhang Xianliang, Mo Yan and Jia Pingwa. 87 Chapter III Zhang Xiangliang and Half of Man is Woman Any discussion of Chinese masculinity in the 1980s must include Zhang Xianliang ^.]M%, best known to Western readers for his Half of Man Is Woman J§ A8tJ — ^ T E ^ A (hereafter Half of Man). Zhang is one of the most popular and controversial writers in the Post-Mao China. His popularity and the surrounding controversy are associated with the fact that he was the first writer in post-Mao era to stir up nationwide sensationalism through his explicit writing on sex, sexuality and impotency, which was then a forbidden topic in China. Zhang was born in 1936 in Nanjing into a middle-class family. His father was a Kuomintang official and industrialist who managed a number of large enterprises. Because he wrote a poem that the Communist Party considered politically improper, Zhang, at the age of twenty one, was labeled as Rightist and sent to a labor camp in northwestern China. For the next twenty-two years, he was sent in and out of prisons, labor-reform camps and state farms, doing hard labor under supervision. In' 1979, under the Communist Party's new policy of rehabilitating wrongly labeled Rightists, he was released from a labor-reform camp and started a new episode of his life as a full-time writer (Li Jun 1991, 327-332). He was arrested again in 1993 and sentenced to three years of "re-education through labor" for his attempt to commemorate the Chinese army crackdown that crushed the 1989 Tiananmen protest. He was released on June 1996. He began to write fiction in 1979, the same year Scar Literature began to flourish. His fictional works "are chiefly autobiographical, based on his twenty years banishment to the countryside in northeast China, after having been labeled a Rightist" (Li Jun 1991, 88 327). He joined Cong Weixi to become a leading writer of Daqiang wenxue (Towering Wall Literature), a genre of Scar Literature exposing life in the Chinese gulag, indicting ultraleftist oppression during the Cultural Revolution. Before Half of Man, one of his autobiographical novels, published in 1985, Zhang had already attracted public attention by his novels, such as Ling yu Rou j ^ . - ^ ; $l(Body and Soul, 1981), Tulao Qinghua J t ^ flfiS (Passionate Words from a Village Gulag, 1981) and Luhuashu ^kVcM (Mimosa, 1984). . ' Half of Man is the second in Zhang's ambitious nine-volume series entitled: The Revelations of A Materialist (Weiwuzhuyi zhe de qishilu I^£#/iX#l!ftJn7K:§£). Mimosa, the first novel in this series, tells of Zhang Yonglin's (the protagonist) experiences of starvation and a love affair with a countrywoman named Ma Yinghua ^^Vc (Mimosa) in 1961. The story of Half of Man is narrated by the same semi-autobiographical persona, Zhang Yonglin. Here, a brief reminder of the principal events of the novel lays the groundwork for my analysis. The story of Half of Man takes place five years after Zhang left Mimosa and describes another episode of his life—he marries and finally divorces the passionate Huang Xiangjiu J t l f A , a peasant woman. Zhang Yonglin's first encounter with Huang Xiangjiu, an inmate charged with a "crime" related to extramarital sex, takes place in a labor reform camp in 1966, on the Eve of the Cultural Revolution. Due to his tragic fate of being sent in and out of labor reform camps and prisons for most of his adult life, Zhang Yonglin, then age 31, had never had first-hand experience with women. His first encounter with Huang Xiangjiu is a dumfounding, dreamlike scene—she is naked, bathing in a secluded irrigation canal. Eight years later he met Huang Xiangjiu again on a 89 state farm during the peak of the Cultural Revolution. Zhang courts and later marries her. Immediately after their marriage, Zhang is in panic because he finds out that he is impotent. Huang, unable to live a normal life as a wife, becomes increasingly frustrated and commits adultery with Cao Xueyi W ^ X , the Party Secretary of the state farm. In fighting a flood that threatens to inundate the whole village and the state farm, Zhang, the only person able to swim, jumps into the water to plug a hole in the bank—a crucial act that stops the flood. When Zhang goes home, his body damp and frozen, his wife tries hard to help him avoid getting sick. She intensively massages his body all over and buries his freezing face between her breasts. Her magical touch eventually revives Zhang's potency. At the age of thirty nine, he becomes "a real man" and for the first time is able to fulfill his obligations to his wife as a husband. While passionate Huang Xiangjiu is still immersed in happiness for being with a real man she herself has created, Zhang decides to divorce her both because of her secret liaisons with Cao and because of his own ambition to participate in political struggles in the outside world. In the preface of Half of Man, the narrator confesses and seeks to atone for his behavior of shi luan zhong qi ^ q S l ^ F ^ (initiating an abnormal relationship with a woman and later abandoning her). Shi luan zhong qi is a recurrent motif of traditional Chinese literature constantly criticized by moralists. As a result of Half of Man, Zhang was acknowledged to be among the most controversial writers in China, exalted by some as a spokesman for liberalization and condemned by others, both as an immoral hypocrite who abandons his loving wife after using her for his own selfish purposes and as a pornographer due to the eroticism in his novel. 90 Many critics agree that this novel on a superficial level deals with the subject of sex and sexuality. On a deeper level, it is a political novel, not only because of the author's subversive motives and guts, but also because of the text he constructs. Zhang Xianliang is one of the writers in the early 1980s who rebelled against totalitarian restrictions on literature and the first to break the forbidden zone in literature by openly addressing sex and sexuality and boldly intertwining sex with politics. He offended readers and Party-state authorities with his explicit and detailed description of sexual intercourse, which is considered by many critics as intended merely for gratifying the vulgar taste of the reader. However, many critics both at home and abroad celebrated his rebellion.1 Marsha L. Wagner states: "Though the passages describing sex will not shock a Western reader, they were very significant in the history of serious contemporary Chinese literature for breaking a long-established taboo" (1990, 138). There is no doubt that Zhang Xiangliang is one of the pioneers who brought sex and sexuality into Chinese serious literature and legitimized it as a serious literary subject. Half of Man, among works by other writers, became one of the transitional works expressing the core value of Scar Literature in the first period of the 1980s, and heralding the second period of flourishing thought emancipation in intellectual discourse. In Half of Man, the narrative blames political oppression under the Communist regime not only for physical brutality, but also and most importantly, for psychologically castrating Chinese intellectuals, and thus entirely depriving them of their creativity. The interweaving of politics and sex centers more on the author's thematic concern with politics than on sex and sexuality. In other words, the indictment of political persecution, 1 For debates on Half of Man Is Woman, see Ningxia renmin chubanshe, 1987. 91 and later compliance with women's oppression, is carried forward by the vehicle of sex, particularly the dysfunctional sex of the impotent protagonist, in a mixture of metaphors, symbols, and frequent crude descriptions. My major concern in this article is about men's issues, or to be more exact, how the issues of emasculation and gender relations are intertwined and presented in the narrative. In this section, I will examine this political novel from the following three correlated points: (1) the source of emasculation identified by the narrative; (2) the ideological framework from which the author's ideal concept of masculinity is reconstructed; and (3) how this framework establishes the protagonist's gendered position and affect his views and feelings toward women; and thus how the narrative programs women's roles into the restoration of masculinity for the protagonist. 3.1 Emasculation and Politics Dehumanization in Chinese politics is a recurrent theme in Zhang Xiangliang's fiction. In his Mimosa, the narrative vividly depicts how the oppressive political system deprives people of the very basic human need for food. Half of Man again vividly illustrates how the vicious power of the political system relentlessly deprives people of very basic sexual needs. However, in this work sex and sexuality cannot be understood as mere physical needs of human beings. An allegorical reading is crucial to understand the implications of the narrative because it is full of metaphors, symbols and allegories. Dehumanization resulting from political oppression is exposed layer by layer in the following dimensions: men have been deprived of sex; women have been desexualized; 92 intellectuals have been mentally castrated and in turn their creativity has been destroyed, and consequently, the whole country has turned into a big jail. 3.1.1 Deprivation of men' s sex One of the characteristics of gulag life is deprivation of the basic needs of human beings. The reality illuminated in Mimosa is that there never is enough food to eat, and in Half of Man it is that there is no provision made for inmates' sexual needs. Everything in the immediate environment apparently works to reduce the humanity of prisoners to the two most basic animals instincts—"food" and "sex." In Half of Man the deprivation of sex causes constant sexual anxieties in the prisoners. They have to exhaust every possible means to gratify or partially gratify their sexual urges. Set in a prison, the first part of the narrative vividly depicts the prisoners' hunger for sex. The prisoners have no access to any kind of real women; no matter whether they are good or bad, young or old, pretty or ugly. The whole camp is a world of men. They have no sexual access to men either. The narrative does not describe any homosexual activities in this world of men as readers might expect, nor does it mention masturbation. Compared to sex/sexuality which was "associated with sin for such a long time" (Foucault 1978, 9), masturbation and homosexuality were even more taboo topics in China. Masturbation was criticized as immoral behavior. The Chinese word for "masturbation" is "shou-yin ^S". "Shou" refers to "hand" while "yin" is the word "traditionally used to mean things or behavior of a sexual nature as decadent, sinful, and even dirty" (Zhong Xueping 2000, 54). Those who had a sense of integrity should not masturbate at all. A l l text books for youngsters by doctors or health specialists 93 emphasized that masturbation was not only immoral and sinful, but also harmful to one's health. This example illustrates Foucaudian theory: discourse is power. " A policing of sex: that is...the necessity of regulating sex through useful and public discourses." (Foucault 1978, 25) Taking a historical perspective and making a comparison to Western societies, L i Yinhe ^ I B M 2 says that China tended to be more tolerant to homosexuality. She found no record to show systematic persecution or execution of homosexuals as in Christian cultures. But this does not mean that homosexuality was not discriminated against in China. Within Chinese society, homosexuality was culturally and thus discursively denied for such a long time that no homosexuals dared to admit their sexual preference, and nobody wanted to raise this topic in a casual conversation/Homosexuality was not only unfilial 3, sexually perversive and sinful, but also was seen as a crime. During the Cultural Revolution, the most frantic time in China's recent history, there was no social tolerance and no space for homosexuality at all. L i Yinhe states: ... [The Cultural Revolution] should be understood as an exception, the same as the exceptional time of Nazi Germany. During that time, even an innocent person could be charged with a trumped-up charge, let alone homosexuals who were not understood by and had no sympathy from common people. Known homosexuals received very cruel treatment: the lightest penalty was being interrogated and criticized while the severest penalty was being beaten to death.4 2 Li Yinhe (1952-) is a well-known sociologist and the founder of (homo)sexology in Mainland China. She is well-known also because she was the wife of the famous fiction writer Wang Xiaobo ZE/Kilfc (1952-1997). Li did thorough research and a very impressive survey on homosexuality both within the Chinese cultural context and the global context. In 1998, she published the first scholarly book in China on homosexuality, Tongxinglianyawenhua l^fi&M^tifcfTTie Subculture—Homosexuality). 3 Confucianism places a strong emphasis on filial couple's responsibility to carry on the family line by giving birth to sons. I will discuss this point later. '' In the Chapter: Fulii diwei ;fkW^\tL (The Legal Status), Li Yinhe, 1998, the online version. 94 As the critic Zhong Xueping points out: "...the CCP's discursive regulations of sexuality, has also shaped Chinese sexuality" (2000, 59). Similar to Foucault's observation about Western societies before seventeenth-century, Chinese people came tov "affirm that sex is negated", "sex is something we hide, to say it is something we silence" (Foucault 1978, 9). Thus, even "normal" sex is denied access to discourse, let alone "sexual sin" like masturbation and "sexual perversity" like homosexuality can be openly accepted. Today this forbidden zone has been entered by scholars and fiction writers. They have discussed masturbation and homosexuality in a more reasonable and scientific way. However, it is understandable why Zhang did not touch these then sensitive and negative subjects when he recounts a story that occurred during a repressive time, although we may assume that there were underground homosexual/masturbation activities in the camp. This understanding is based on the following two points. (1) Although Half of Man was written in the mid-1980s, we should understand that breaking a, forbidden zone of sex/sexuality required tremendous audaciousness at that time. One cannot expect Zhang to advance too far ahead of his time.3 (2) Zhang separates his protagonist from the inmates to highlight the difference between the social elite and commoners, which I will discuss more thoroughly later. Nonetheless he does not regard the inmates as criminals or social scum, but as persecuted victims by the ultraleftist line. Thus the author would subvert his purpose by depicting them as "sinful" people engaging in the "sinful" sexual behaviors of masturbation and homosexuality. 5 The first scholarly work on homosexuality in Mainland China by Li Yinhe, The Subculture-Homosexuality, was published in 1998, thirteen years after the publication of Half of Man. 95 I will now return-to'-the topic of the accessibility to heterosexual outlets in the camp. Female inmates are segregated and not accessible to male inmates. In order to assuage their sexual anxieties, male prisoners flirt with village girls and women who form curious audiences for this "black (the color of the uniform for prisoners) troop" passing by their village. The prisoners act like animals in oestrus trying to smell every sign that might indicate the existence of female (animals). Male prisoners were completely separated from female. We were separated to the point that we could almost forget the women's existence....How we watched for the tiny footprints of the "Small Brigade," those narrow imprints like a child's pressed into the mud. We even enjoyed the bean skins that they left behind. A l l these become small paths in the grounds of an elegant garden, trails leading to the meeting of two sexes. Needless to say, the meeting was only in the mind. Unless both parties were "free prisoners," a meeting would never become reality (p.34-35). Vulgar banter and dreams about women and sex become major releases for prisoners' sexual anxieties and a solace for their sexless lives. The only topic that can excite prisoners is sex and women. They recall (or imagine) their sexual experiences with as much obscene language as they can muster. The ribaldry becomes their indispensable sexual and "spiritual" food. "Out there, love did not exist. What did exist, ...was physical lust." (p. 50) 3.1.2 Desexualized women The female inmates' situation is even worse, as they became conspicuously desexualized. Similar to their male counterparts, they are completely deprived of rights for sex. They exhibit desexualization not only in their physical appearance but also in 96 their insensibility. After being desexualized, what is left in them are sheer animal instincts. The female prisoners "even flirt with guards through iron bars. 'Captain, is your little mouse thirsty? Want to suck sweet water?'... Give them a chance and they would positively leap into a man's arms" (p. 35). They sing songs from the revolutionary model plays {yangbanxi ^M$c$5) that are associated with masculine roles. Their coarse voices scratch and are uneven (p. 41). The protagonist once has a chance to observe these animal-like female inmates: ...Sexless, these women had descended to a state even lower than ours. The term "woman" was used only by habit. They had no waists, no chests, no buttocks, as one after another their dark red faces passed by. Although they lacked the 'snake wrinkles' of the men, they had the boorishness of female animals, (p. 36) The portrayal of female animals in the gulag is completely uncharacteristic of sexual/sexy women in non-Mao times or in Western societies where women use make-ups and wear beautiful clothes and jewellery to highlight their femininity in order to appeal to the opposite sex. This portrayal of female animals is the epitome of nation-wide desexualizatibn during the Cultural Revolution when the only fabric appropriate for women to wear was "green army uniforms," (Wang Ban 1997, 208) — a gender-neutral type of clothing. The only "jewellery" appropriate for women was "the wearing of Mao badges" (ibid, 208) — also a gender-neutral decoration. There were few cosmetics for women sold in stores, women were not allowed to keep long hair or display stylish 97 hairdos,6 and stylish clothes were labeled as qizhuang yifu nt$k$-M (outlandish clothes/bizarre dress). A woman who wore qizhuang yifu would be criticized as showing off her bourgeois sentiment.7 The absurdity of this desexualization was rationalized by the official line that beauty and romance were decadent traces of bourgeois political ideology that must be denounced and eradicated. The desexualization campaign was aimed at extinguishing any individual desires and hopes that might nourish or potentially mobilize opposition to Communist ideological control. 3.1.3 Deprivation of intellectuals' creativity The protagonist, as one of the prisoners, is no different from others in his sexual needs. What is different about him is that his cultural upbringing does not allow him to join uneducated prisoners in vulgar banter. His dreams serve as a major source from which he can gratify his sexual urges without, sacrificing his intellectual decorum. He dreams of a "ghost girl" who had been confined to this prisoners' room for rejecting a marriage arranged for her by her parents. Due to his lack of the first-hand sexual experience with women, (his only image of women came from an abstract picture by Picasso) his interaction with the female ghost in his dream tends to be nebulous. In the normal life of a poet and fictional writer, sexual performance and intimate interaction with women should not conflict with his intellectual creativity. His sexual drives should nourish and spur his spiritual and intellectual well-being. However, in Zhang's case, like 61 personally witnessed several times Red Guards standing in the streets with scissors in their hands to forcibly cut the long hair of female pedestrians. 7 During my visit to my home city in 1979, already three years after the Cultural Revolution, I noticed a big billboard set in front of a big department store on which eight to ten "donts" reminded customers of "proper" behavior. Two of these "donts" were: "Do not wear thick make-up" and "Do not wear outlandish clothes." 98 the action of eating in Mimosa, sex becomes the objective of survival, rather than a means for survival. As result, erotic daydreaming replaces intellectual thinking. The constant torture and punishment suffered by the prisoners, both physically and psychologically, entirely destroys individual thoughts. "At that particular time the adjective 'stupid' had taken on a complimentary character, and was used as a term of commendation" (p. 74). A previous hydraulic engineer, having overcome the appellation of "intellectual" with some difficulty, eventually earned the "glorious status of'stupid'," and was allowed to join the Party (p. 74). The novel conveys the message^that Chinese intellectuals are mentally crippled. Even worse, the protagonist suffers from impotence immediately after he gets married. He believes that years of solitude and sexual inactivity have made him incapable of having sexual intercourse. The cause of his long-term solitude and sexual inactivity is very clear: the ceaseless political campaigns that put him into jail and the labor reform camps, thus depriving him of his normal life and sexual ability as a man. The author politicizes the protagonist's physical impotence so that it extends to mental and psychological emasculation of Chinese intellectuals: "...you became mentally traumatized, ending up being just like me. The end result has been the same: like me, your life is not in your own hands. You are forced to allow others to order you about, to beat you, to control you, to ride you" (p. 145). Utterly cynical, a gelding horse urges Zhang to give up any hope of creativity: "You know as well as I do why people have castrated us: it's to remove our creative force, make us tractable. If they didn't we would have our own free-will, and our superior intelligence could never be kept in the traces." (p. 147) 99 3.1.4 The whole country is a jail The author addresses the ubiquitous shadow of totalitarianism that not only suffocates Chinese intellectuals, but also extends over all Chinese lives. Society as a whole is the object of the terrorism and punishment. "Class struggle" is the only business for Chinese (p. 7), and people are put into jail "for nothing" (p. 20). Many are killed just like a "bedbug being pinched in two" (p. 234). Compared to the chaotic outside world, labor reform camps and jails ironically become "a kind of independent kingdom" (p. 6), even "a haven of peace" (p. 12). Labor Gang Leader Wang, after having witnessed a humiliating parade of former cadres with paper hats on their heads down the middle of the street in town, considers Zhang Yonglin a really lucky for having been a prisoner. "Man, you whore; the one who put you into this labor camp must have been your own Creator. Otherwise you'd be out there too with those bastards, letting people 'rectify' you to death" (p. 11). A l l Chinese are politically castrated to the extent that they dare not to speak, even dare not to think. "Dumbo [the nick name of a male character in the novel] was not really a mute" (p. 71). Just because he tells the truth that is contradictory to the propaganda, delegation leaders "called him in and proceeded to give him a lesson. If he went on babbling like that, they would have to classify him as a 'class enemy'" (p. 74). "From that day on, Dumbo was silent" (p. 74), because, as everyone knew, silence is the best way to protect oneself from the precarious trends of politics. Even when released from custody, Zhang Yonglin asserts that he and his fellow Chinese "never got out of jail" (p. 263). As a result, the whole of China turns into a big amorphous jail. Zhang Yonglin in frustration issues a call to action. 100 If the Chinese people don't stand up and speak, i f they don't move to the front line of struggle themselves, then one billion people will no longer have the right to live on this globe. We will have been the most stupid, good for nothing, weak, despicable race on earth, (p. 264) The narrator's desperate expression echoes Lu Xun's crying out in his Iron House. Lu Xun's legacy is even more conspicuously emphasized when the protagonist Zhang Yonglin says: The world is cast of iron, without feelings or consciousness. If you want to influence it, push it, mould it, the least you must do is shout—never mind that it is a muffled shout from under a blanket of repression, (p.76) 3.1.5 Sexualization of politics and politicization of sex The ubiquitous power of totalitarianism and terrorism pervades to every aspect of life, forming a huge blanket over the whole of China and suffocating its victims to the verge of death. However, everyday resistance to oppression still exists, as Hei-tz (Zhang's male friend in the novel) says: "People in Beijing all say that the leaders are carrying out a 'policy for duping the people', and so we down below are also carrying out a 'policy for duping the monarch'. It's the bosses fooling us and us fooling the bosses— no one speaking the truth." (p. 223) The novel contains another interesting aspect of the interaction between politics and sex—sexualized politics and politicized sex, which is similar to the travesty that Wang Ban has observed in the relationship between politics and aesthetics during the 8 See Lu Xun (1881 - 1936)'s well-know Preface to Calls of Arms (Nahan Zixu "rtiligff, 1923), Hongkong: Shenghuo, Dushu, Xinzhi Sanlian Shudian, 1958, p.5. Lu Xun used "an iron house" as a metaphor to described Chinese culture. People in this "iron house" are suffocated, weak, sleeping and dying, indicating 101 Cultural Revolution, "...politics and aesthetics played themselves out as partners, and rivals and as an aesthetic experience." (1997, 196) As for sexualized politics, the critic of Half of Man, Zhong Xueping points out: "One of the ways the male prisoners resist such repression is to talk constantly about women, dwelling on crude descriptions of sexual relationships and cracking jokes about female sexuality" (1994, 179). They obtain thrills from their obscene language describing a woman's body and the process of sexual intercourse. Apparently this outlet is not enough. They extend their excitement by sexualizing everything in their lives, including politics. In this clever way they mock the policies of "reform". The film Lenin in October, which served as a popular visual text for a revolutionary education at that time, was shown to the prisoners and ironically struck them as being highly erotic, in particular the scene in which Vasily, Lenin's bodyguard, must say goodbye to his wife and kiss her (p. 25). The prisoners seize any chance to sexualized Mao's quotations with subtlety in tacit communications among themselves. They are allowed to sing songs of Mao's quotations at that time. One of Mao's quotations is worded: We.. .men of the Communist Party, Are j ust like... seeds! When they reached the word 'seeds', the younger prisoners would stand on the banks of the canal and make eyes at the young women [village audiences] (p. 16). The prisoners craftily shift the meaning of "seeds" as a metaphor for revolutionary enlightenment to the seeds of male reproduction. that the spirit of the Chinese was corrupted by the "sick" culture. The most important thing, therefore, was to change their spirit and to wake them up by crying out loudly and by destroying this "iron house". 102 On the other hand, regarding the politicization of sex, the novel demonstrates how endless political campaigns effectively brainwashed Chinese people and installed propaganda into their minds as the only framework to condition "their thinking". Zhang observes: "Our lives may be hard, but they also have their small conveniences: everything has been arranged for us, we don't even have to use our brains" (p. 224). Consequently, people turn out to be puppets of politics who do not know any way other than "their own thinking" and do not possess their own framework of language even when dealing with their own marriage and sex. The caricatures of politicized sexuality and marriage appear throughout the novel. The reason for Zhang to get married, according to Luo Zongqi §7 TKIS'S (Zhang's friend) advice, is to give Zhang a safe place (home) to read and write political articles without the immediate danger of being witnessed by others and thus reported to the authorities (p. 102). Old Lady Ma ^ j ^ ^ l ^ f persuades Zhang not to divorce so that, if he were sent into jail again, his wife could send food and clothes to him (p. 255). In the interrogators' eyes, the reason why Zhang is over thirty years old and has not yet married is that he is. "hanging on for a change of dynasties." They yell at him: "You think everything will change with a change in power, and then you'll find a wife!" (p. 108). The protagonist sees marriage as something that would tie him to "the shattering life of reality" and thus prevent him from pursuing his political ideals (p. 104-105). Huang's adultery with Cao is discovered by her husband who cannot forgive her. She, too, uses political jargon "Tanbai cohgkuan, kangju congyan i i ^ hk%, ^LnfekkF^" (Come out with it and we will be lenient, resist and it will be tough), a jargon frequently used by interrogators of criminals, to entreat her husband to let her go. (p. 208) 103 The most serious side of the politicized sex shown in this novel is power struggles in gender relations. In another words, the protagonist's losing potency and regaining potency are depicted in the narrative as a power struggle between the sexes. The novel is well structured on two parallel levels: one is visible sexual interplay on the surface and the other is invisible political persecution and power struggle underneath. Almost all episodes carry symbolic meanings if we view them from a political perspective. "The relationship between Zhang and Huang thus involves wrangles for power that somewhat resembles political power struggles" (Wu 1992, 5). The power struggle between the sexes reveals the gender view of the narrative. I will give a thorough analysis on this topic later. 3.2 Confucianism: Nostalgia for Junzi Masculinity The narrative clearly shows that Zhang Yonglin is obsessed with politics. It is interesting to pose the questions why the author has chosen politics as a setting to discuss man's potency, and what the ideal masculinity is that the narrative wants to reassert and restore for emasculated Chinese intellectuals. Here Confucius's teachings about junzi provide answers, as the narrative consistently identifies the protagonist with a junzi, or a shi, in the tradition of Confucianism. 3.2.1 "'Junzi" and his descendant shi For an understanding of the definition of junzi, jun S in Chinese refers to "a king", "a lord", or "a monarch". Zi ~f- means "son". Therefore the original meaning of a junzi is a "son of a king", or a "son of a ruler". "The term was applied to descendants of 104 the ruling house in any State, and so came to mean 'gentleman,' 'member of the upper classes.'" (Waley, A . 1938, 34). Before Confucius time, junzi merely indicated a man's social status. In Lunyu i&ia- (The Analects), Confucius imbues the term with a special meaning. A junzi must be a person who possesses both profound knowledge and a high-level of morality. He "is bound to a particular code of morals and manners; so that the word chun-tzu [junzi] implies not merely superiority of birth but also superiority of character and behaviors. Finally the requisite of birth is waived" (Waley, A . 1938, 34). Confucius believed a man should strive to be a junzi by receiving education and by self-cultivation. His goal for educating junzi was to set up tangible models for human beings to follow. The task of education (or self-cultivation) was so difficult that the status of junzi seems quite out of the reach for most men. "It is not to be expected that a man can become a gentleman without a great deal of hard work or cultivation", as D. C. Lau points out (1979, 14). In this sense, "junzi" may be used colloquially to refer to a "really good person." Translators use the term "gentleman"9, "true gentleman"10, "exemplary person" 1 1, "noble-minded"1 2, "living-nobly" 1 3 , "a man of complete virtue" 1 4 , "an accomplished scholar"15, "a superior man" 1 6, "a man of honor"17, "the Ideal Man" 1 8 , "a 9 Waley 1938; Lau 1979; Cleary T. The Essential Confucius. New Jersey: Castle Books, 1992; Dawson R. 1993; Huang The Analects of Confucius. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997; Slingerland E.G. The Analects, pp. 1-54 of P. Ivanhoe and B Van Norden, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, New York: Seven Bridges Press, 2001. 1 0 Waley 1938. ' 1 Ames, R.T. & Rosemont, H. The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation. New York: Ballantine Books, 1998. 12 Hinton, D. The Analects. Washington: Counterpoint, 1998. 1 3 Leys 1997, (7.33). 14 • Legge, J. Confucian Analects, The Great Learning, and The Doctrine of the Mean, lit. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1893. And at http.V/nothinaistic-.org/'librarv/confiicius/aiialects/toc.litnil 1 5 Ibid. 105 wise man" 1 9, and "a true philosopher"20 for junzi. There are still more terms such as "admired person [people]", "noble man", "Super Man", "the higher type of man", used in referring to junzi. The early Confucian education was virtually the education for junzi. In The Analects, for example, which is considered by scholars as the most reliable source of the doctrine of Confucius (Jin 1995, 2), contains 20 chapters and 503 verses. The term, "junzi" is used 103 times in 63 verses.21 The rest of the verses, though not explicitly employing the term "junzi", are still direct teachings related to becoming a junzi. The Confucian teachings about junzi were complex, with elements interrelated, intertwined, overlapped, and conditioned on each other. According to The Analects, the education for, or quality of a junzi roughly includes, but is not limited to, the following attributes pertaining to his morals, his ability and his manner. The morals of a junzi include at least ren ^(kindness, benevolence, humanity, humane, goodness, human perfection, virtue, being considerate, etc.), de W< (virtue, integrity, excellence, the radiation of his moral power, or leading by example), zhong >S (be loyal, faithful, and sincere), xiao ^ ( f i l i a l piety, to respect parents and elders), xin {% (truthful, standing by your words, and trustworthy), and yi SL(be righteous, just, and do what is right). Among these elements, the most important quality for a junzi is ren, which is the core of the junzi personality and "one of the foundational concepts on which to base 1 6 Ibid. 1 7 Crofts, T. The Analects. New York: Dover Publications, 1995. 1 8 Ibid. 1 9 Ibid. 2 0 Ibid. 2 1 D. C. Lau says that junzi "is discussed in more than eighty chapters in the Analects." (1979, 14) 106 his [Confucius's] whole system of philosophy" (Xin Hu 1996, 25). AH other attributes of junzi are an extension of ren. The ability of a junzi is comprised of his zhi ^"(understanding, intelligence, knowledge, and eruditition), xing ft (action), and yong f§ (courage). In Confucius' mind, a junzi must be intellectual. Without knowledge, a man cannot accomplish his ren (humanity) and de (virtue). Knowledge and understanding come from learning (xue). A junzi must make a commitment to learning, love learning (The Analects: 1.1, 1.6, 1.14, 2.11, 6.27, 13.3) and be willing to become a learned man (19.6). A junzi should be one who takes action, rather than an arm-chair talker (2.13, 4.24, 7.25, 13.3). He should talk little, but with good faith (1.6). He always should do what is right (4.10), and his actions must do justice to his words (4.22). Courage flows out of ren (humanity) as " A ren man is always brave; a brave man is not always ren" (14.4). Courage also makes a junzi to face the truth. When he makes a mistake in action, he does not hesitate to correct it (1.8). The manner of a junzi is trained and thus manifested in li 4L, referring to propriety, ritual, courtesy, decorum, good taste, and being civilized. If he learns, he will become a virtuous man who is always "cordial, upright, courteous, temperate and complaisant", (iim, iH, ik, i t 1.10) Li, the same as other attributes, is also the extension of ren (humanity). Without ren, a man cannot have a good manner (3.3). The elements summarized above far from exhaust the contents of Confucius teachings about junzi. However, by following these and other indicators mentioned in The Analects, a portrait of a junzi emerges by which we can recognize him: 2 2 All translations of The Analects quoted in this dissertation come from Simon Leys (1997) with minor modifications in a few verses by me. 107 a. Independence of personality (1.1, 15.21,17.6); b. Compassion (1.2, 4.4, 8.2, 12.16, 17.3): c. Self-sacrifice for pursuing the Way (Dao, the ultimate reality: 1.14, 4.5, 4.9, 4.10, 4.16, 9.14, 14.2, 14.5, 14.23, 17.3); d. Self-discipline (1.8, 4.2, 6.27, 12.1, 15.15, 15.19, 16.7); e. Sense of mission (3.24, 12.20); f. Sense of justice (2.14, 4.10, 7.31); g. Sense of loyalty (16.6); h. Man of action (4.24, 7.25, 13.3); i . Loving to learn and knowledgeable (1:1; 1:6; 1:14; 2:11; 6:27, 13.3, 16 9 19.6); j . Modesty (3.7, 13.3, 13.26, 14.26); k. Unselfish, considerate and forgiving (4.15, 6.30, 12.2, 15.24); 1. Being simple and honest (11.19); m. Ambition in both personal and social achievement (14.2, 8.9, 15.11); n. Readiness to shoulder great responsibilities (1.8, 8.6, 15.9); o. Good manner in speech (eschews vulgarity and nonsense, 8.4).23 This portrait suggests that a junzi is the one who reaches a high level in pursuing the Way ( i l l , Dao) of self-cultivation. The complex training for junzi is to prepare men of high quality in both morality and intellect who are ready for assuming the heavier responsibilities of assisting the rulers to lead the country (1.8, 8.7). Shi : t in Chinese before the Confucius's time had multiple meanings. Sometimes it referred to man, the opposite sex of women;2 4 and sometimes it referred to officials.25 According to Waley, A , this term was a military one meaning "knight." " A Shih was a person entitled to go to battle in a war-chariot, in contrast with the common soldiers who followed on foot" (Waley, A 1938, 33-34). In Confucius's time, shi overlapped with 2 3 This portrait of a junzi is based on Xin Hu's summary (1996, 34-35) with some modifications. 2 4 ""pRUjfc^'. ;£-!=;drift." (Ah! Thou young lady/ See no licentious pleasure with gentlemen.) See Shijing. Weifeng. Meng (i#*ro Jljxlo [kt, Book of Odes/The Odes of Wei/Meng. The online version is available at http://etext.virginia.edu/chinese/shiiing/AnoShih.html. accessed on August 14, 2003.) 2 5 " S f S r ^ i , ^.'XZ.'iM" (Great was the number of officials:~[All] assiduous followers of the virtue of [King] Wen.) See Shijing. Zhousong. Qingmiao (i#££„ JnjftjSL ri?/S, Book of Odes/Sacrificial Odes of Zhou/ Decade of Qing Miao. Ibid) 108 junzi. Confucius used junzi most of the time in The Analects, and sometimes used shi instead (4.9, 7.12, 8.7, 14.2, 18.11).26 After Confucius's time, shi became a distinctive social class during the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.) in China. But the social status of shi was low. Shi depended on other higher-ranking aristocrats and led their lives by providing services—as servants in peacetime and as military officers in wartime—to their masters (Feng 1990, 340). It was prevailing among aristocrats to "xushi H d r " (keep shi) or "yangshi #dr" (support shi). "During the Warring States Period, each of four renowned Dukes: Duke Pingyuan, Duke Xinling, Duke Mengchang and Duke Chunshen, recruited and maintained more than one thousand shi." (Feng 1990, 342). However, during that time, shi did not have a strong consciousness recognizing that they actually formed a special social group (Lei Haizong 1989, 138). The significant change in their social status and their corresponding consciousness started in the Han Dynasty (206 B. C. - A . D. 220). Two political events occurred that historically tied Chinese shi to politics. First, Confucianism was firmly established and became the canonical bedrock of the Chinese feudal ideology. Second, the examination system was adopted as a complementary means to the system of recommendation, the primary system by which to find capable officials (Shen Jianshi 1960, 20-22). "The system of civil service examination [as a primary means to selecting officials] started in the Sui Dynasty [581-618] and completed in the Tang Dynasty [618-907]" (ibid, 68). It was an attempt to 2 6 "Ml W A ± : ..." (Zhou you ba shi:...) (18.11) Both Waley, A (1938) and Simon Leys (1997) translated ba shi as "eight knights." D. C. Lau (1979) translated as "eight gentlemen." 2 7 Dong Zhongshu (179-104 B. C) , the most eminent Confucian scholar of the Han dynasty, well known for dismissing all non-Confucian scholars from the government in favor of Confucian ethicists, advocated, "dismissing a hundred schools of thought and privileging Confucianism exclusively" (Bachu bai jia, du zun rushu W:$&!SM, His agenda was adopted by the Emperor Wu, Liu Che MW, the most ambitious and capable emperor in the Han dynasty. 109 recruit men 2 8 on the basis of merit and their knowledge of Confucianism. The Tang was the first dynasty in which the civil service examination came to play an important role in selecting men for office. Scholars who passed the examinations were granted posts in government offices. They and their entire families entered the shidafu (scholar-gentry) class and received prestige and privilege. Along with the institutionalization of the civil service examination system, scholar-officials became an increasingly important class. They read the same books (Confucian classics then became a fixture for the civil service examination), harbored the same political aspirations, and held the same attitude toward current events. Economically, most of them were rich landlords. Politically they worked between emperors and commoners as liaisons and controlled the gigantic political machine and discourse of China. Although they did not form a political party, they were bound to the same interests and well-being and functioned as a monomorphic Party (Lei Haizong 1989, 138). Their primary responsibility was to assist the ruling class to lead the country and rule its people. Confucianism was the exclusive ideology for this shi scholar-official class, and Confucius teachings about junzi became their indispensable moral text with a heavy emphasis on politics. From then on, junzi become shi, or shidafu drAA (scholar-officials). To be more exact, shi had to follow the Confucian teachings and were expected to become junzi. This class created a unique "political culture" in Chinese history.29 In reflecting on how Chinese political history was affected by the civil service examination, Lin Tongji l ^ l ^ ] ^ observers that there was a transition from dafu-shi %3K Civil service examinations were "a male-only...system" (Wendy Larson 2002, p. 175). "Girls...could not take the examinations and become officials..." (Miyazaki, Ichisada, 1963, p. 13) 2 9 For the concept of"zhengzhiwenhua fl&Vn JCik" (political culture), see Yan Buke'lSl^jE: Shidafu Zhengzhi Yansheng Shigao ±zkJK$L;tn ;M /3c. r£M (The Manuscript of History of Scholar-Officials in the Development of Politics), 1996, Beijing: Beijing University Press. dr (Lobe-knight) to shi-dafu d b A ^ : (Scribe-official) in China's history. "...dafu-shi were aristocrat knights, and shi-dafu were literati bureaucrats; the former were products of the feudal hierarchy while the latter were a necessity for a unified imperial monarchy." (Lin 1989, 117). This system of civil service examinations was abolished in 1905. However the strong consciousness of participation in politics, the strong sense of responsibility for the country and its people and the strong feeling of being superior to others are still deeply rooted in the mindset of Chinese intellectuals who are regarded as descendants of this shi (scholar-official) class. Zhang Yonglin's obsession with participation in politics derives from the shi tradition. 3.2.2 The ideal traits of masculinity in Half of Man versus moral code forjunzi Confucius's teachings for junzi can also be understood as the foundation on which ideal masculinity is constructed, and all the attributes listed above can be regarded as attributes of ideal masculinity, because" the category of junzi is exclusively for men. Kam Louie observes, "Confucius is never presented in the company of women" (2002, 46). Song Geng argues, "The junzi, who exemplifies the ideal personality in Confucian discourse is seldom gendered in Confucian classics; the ungendered 'men' thus practically becomes the synonym for 'people'" (1999, 214). The concept of ungendered "men" can be established in Confucian discourse based on the fact that women do not exist in the discourse as subjectivity. Women are unambiguously categorized as equivalent to "inferior men" (xiaoren dN A ) (17.25). Even women who achieved the