on Combatting Domestic Violence in China
In This Video
Changing Attitudes Toward Domestic Violence in China: Liu Meng's Story
Liu Meng’s full oral history and transcript are available at the Georgetown University Library.
Liu Meng was born in Anhui province in the People’s Republic of China. In this interview, she talks about her role models growing up and how she came to awareness about international feminism and domestic violence in China. Her attendance at various international conferences, particularly the Fourth World Conference on Women that was held in Beijing in 1995, was pivotal. Lastly, she describes her work to pass China’s first domestic violence law and her research on domestic violence in China.
Domestic violence was considered a “family matter” in China during the 1990s, when Liu Meng was working on her PhD. She explains, “At that time in China people believed, even me I also believed that, it was very, very common for couples to beat, to fight. In Chinese, we don’t use ‘beat,’ we use the word ‘fight.’ So the couple fighting was regarded as part of the marital act.” Thanks to her background in social work, Liu Meng had the opportunity to work with survivors of domestic violence, see the world from their perspective, and take action to change Chinese attitudes about violence. She began training doctors to take seriously the cases of women who came to the emergency room after being abused by their partners and to document the evidence so that survivors could use it in court. After years of negotiating, she helped pass first-of-its-kind legislation to prevent domestic violence against women in China. Learn how she became a champion for survivors and generated the political momentum to change the law.