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This is an image taken from the manhua, once the Communists free women from the tyranny of the old feudal ways

Today, Nick Stember, the expert on Chinese Manhua (similar to Japanese Manga), joins us as we discuss a short manhua cartoon booklet that was published in 1950. The booklet was meant to be a simple way to explain the 1950 Marriage Law, one of the first acts passed by the new Communist government. The Law legitimized the Communists in the eyes of many Chinese women and their progressive allies. It was the first Chinese to legalize a woman’s right to divorce (divorce had been permitted before, but under circumstances generally unfavorable to women), and it modernized many of the old customs in rural China. This was the first in a series of feminist policies the Communists implemented, and the text we explore today provides an interesting angle through which to explore gender, propaganda and ideology in 1950’s China.

Note: Apologies to the listener for the poor sound quality of Nick’s voice. We are experimenting with ways to do telephonic interviews, and this one was one of the interviews were the technique we used (our fault’s, not Nick) was not the level we wanted it to be.

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