Chizuko Ueno

1 minute read
By Leta Hong Fincher

Chizuko Ueno, a 75-year-old Japanese sociologist, has become a surprising superstar in China. Even as the government persecutes feminists—journalist and #MeToo activist Huang Xueqin was put on trial last September—translations of Ueno’s books, with topics including feminism and misogyny, have become best sellers. While state propaganda in China stigmatizes single women older than 27 as “leftover” women (sheng nu), Ueno, who has no children, has become a role model for millions of Chinese women quietly rebelling against pressure to marry and have babies, intensified by President Xi Jinping’s calling for “a new type of marriage and childbearing culture” to answer a plummeting birth rate. Ueno’s books have propelled feminist ideas into mainstream Chinese society, a rare bright spot amid worsening political repression.

Fincher is a journalist and the author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

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