Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman

By Mark Salzman

Salzman captures post-cultural revolution China via his adventures as a tender American English instructor in China and his shifu-tudi (master-student) courting with China's most excellent martial arts instructor.

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Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and Gender Introduction Difference / 21 Overall, this literature on the family indicates that whereas the state may not have transformed marriage and family practices by edict, state policies on collectivization and decollectivization have contributed to long-term changes in rural household composition and relationships. Younger women are among the chief beneficiaries of these changes; older women, perhaps, are the neglected remainder. Household Composition and Family Power The extended or joint family—patrilocal, patrilineal, and multigenerational—remained a powerful ideal at least until the establishment of the PRC (Croll 1985a).

Since the advent of the one-child campaign, national and regional population statistics show disturbing imbalances in reported sex ratios at birth. In the 1953 and 1964 censuses, prior to the birth planning campaigns, the 30 / Introduction Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and Gender Difference ratio was close to “normal,” conventionally set at 106:100 (K. Johnson 1993). But by 1989, it was 113:100 and in 2000 117:100 (Greenhalgh and Li 1995; Eckholm 2002; see also Banister 1987). 7:100 (Eckholm 2002).

The 1992 adoption law, for instance, allowed only childless couples over the age of 35 to adopt, and families who already had children could be fined for adopting informally, as though they had produced an over-quota birth. The rate of official adoptions nationally remained low, and informal adoptions predominated in spite of the penalties. Difficulties in obtaining household registrations for adopted children meant that the (mostly female) children who survived abandonment and were adopted did not have full legal protection or access to social services.

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