Wang Huiwu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wang.
Wang Huiwu
Wang Huiwu.jpg
Born May 1898
Jiaxing, Zhejiang, Qing China
Died 20 October 1993 (aged 95)
Spouse(s) Li Da (divorced)
Children Two
Parent(s) Wang Yanchen (father)

Wang Huiwu (Chinese: 王会悟; May 1898 – 20 October 1993) was a social reformer, a Communist Party of China (CCP) women's organizer (in the early years), as well as a proponent of women's emancipation. She ran the first Communist-sponsored journal which was written and edited mostly by women. Her husband was Li Da (1890–1966) one of the founders of CCP and a propagator of Marxist Philosophy.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Wang was born in Jiaxing County, Zhejiang, Qing China,[1] to a school teacher and his illiterate wife. Her father, Wang Yanchen (who owned the local school), provided her initial education. Her father's untimely death put the family in a penurious situation. However, she continued with her studies at the Jiaxing Women's Normal School and the Hujun Academy for Girls, managed by Christian Missionaries, where she learned English and became a Christian.[2][3] At Hujun, she participated in student protests against the Paris Peace Conference.[4] It was at Hujun while she became fluent in English that she imbibed the iconoclasm of the May Fourth Movement, which inspired her to spearhead the movement for women's emancipation.[2]

After graduation, she moved to Shanghai where her cousin, Shen Yanbing, later known as Mao Dun (in later years one of the well known writers of China), introduced Wang to Marxists. She married Li Da, a Marxist philosopher and feminist, who had returned from Japan after studies, in autumn of 1920; they shared an apartment with Chen Duxiu and his wife, Gao Junman. Wang and Li moved to Changsha where they had a son (born 1924) and daughter (born 1925). After 1927, they lived in Shanghai and in Beijing, and in July 1937 during the Japanese invasion of northern China, they escaped and lived in Guilin and Guiyang, before eventually arriving in Chongqing, the war time capital.[2] They later divorced.[1]


With Junman, Wang was the first woman activist in Shanghai's Communist organization.[5] She and her husband who had a common interest in the women's emancipation (both were known as May Fourth intellectuals) and together published a number of articles on the subject during post-World War I period in popular periodicals.[2] In 1921, she participated in the First Communist Party of the China National Congress, working as a guard.[6] Wang established the Shanghai Commoners' (Pingmin) Girls' School in 1922,[7] (which attracted Ding Ling, Qian Xijun, Wang Jianhong, and Wang Yizhi). She was the editor of Women's Voice (Funü Sheng; 妇女声), a bimonthly periodical; which pioneered writings on politics by women. She also strongly supported the movement for birth control in spite of much male opposition.[2]

In 1949, she moved to Beijing following establishment of the PRC and worked for the Legal Committee of the central government. She also participated in the 60th anniversary of the founding of CCP.[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

In her final years, Wang was described as "frail and sickly", a result of years of hard labour.[8] Wang died on 10 October 1993, at her residence in Beijing, aged 96. The cause of death was sickness coupled with old age.[8] A memorial in honour of Wang's contribution to the cause of women in China was established at Wuzhen, a World Heritage town, in northern Zhejiang Province.[9]


Her earliest publication on Women's emancipation was entitled "Chinese Woman Question: Liberation from a Trap" which was published in 1919 in the Young China; the theme of this book was on early traditional marriage custom all related to the dominant role of the husband in every aspect of his wife's life.[2]

In 1949, when Wang came to Beijing, she published many essays re-mincing the founding of the CCP.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Lan, Hua R.; Vanessa L. Fong (1999). Women in Republican China: a sourcebook. M.E. Sharpe. p. xxxvii. ISBN 978-0-7656-0342-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lily Hsiao Hung Lee; Agnes D. Stefanowska; Sue Wiles (2003). 中國婦女傳記詞典. M.E. Sharpe. p. 534. ISBN 978-0-7656-0798-0. 
  3. ^ Smith, Stephen Anthony (2000). A Road Is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920-1927. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-8248-2314-6. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Kruks, Sonia; Rapp, Rayna; Young, Marilyn Blatt (1 April 1989). Promissory notes: women in the transition to socialism. Monthly Review Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-85345-770-1. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Gilmartin, Christina K (1995). Engendering the Chinese Revolution: Radical Women, Communist Politics, and Mass Movements in the 1920s. University of California Press. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-0-520-91720-0. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Wang Huiwu Memorial". Wuzhen Tourism Company. 
  7. ^ Zarrow, Peter (9 September 2005). China in War and Revolution, 1895-1949. Taylor & Francis. pp. 227–. ISBN 978-0-203-01562-9. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Li, Xianzhe (March 24, 2011). 李达的夫人王会悟 (2). Dangshi (in Chinese). 
  9. ^ "Wang Huiwu Memorial". Wuzhen Tourism Co., Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2013.