Cai Chang

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Cai Chang
Cai Chang.jpg
Born(1900-05-14)14 May 1900
Died11 September 1990(1990-09-11) (aged 90)
Known forFirst leader of the All-China Women's Federation
Political party Communist Party of China
Spouse(s) Li Fuchun
Relatives Cai Hesen (brother)
Xiang Jingyu (sister-in-law)

Cai Chang (Chinese :蔡畅; 14 May 1900 – 11 September 1990) [1] [2] [3] was a Chinese politician and women's rights activist who was the first chair of the All-China Women's Federation, a Chinese women's rights organization.

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Womens rights rights claimed for women and girls worldwide

Women's rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls worldwide, and formed the basis for the women's rights movement in the nineteenth century and feminist movement during the 20th century. In some countries, these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behavior, whereas in others they are ignored and suppressed. They differ from broader notions of human rights through claims of an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women and girls, in favor of men and boys.

All-China Womens Federation organization

The All-China Women's Federation, also known as the ACWF, is a women's rights organization established in China on 24 March 1949. It was originally called the All-China Democratic Women's Foundation, and was renamed the All-China Women's Federation in 1957. It has acted as the official leader of the women’s movement in China since its founding. It is responsible for promoting government policies on women, and protecting women’s rights within the government.


Early life

Cai Chang was born in 1900 to a lower middle class family in China. Her mother left her husband, and enabled her children to attend school by selling her belongings. Cai believed strongly in women's education, and spurned the idea of marriage in favor of a vow of celibacy. Her mother aided her in this by avoiding an arranged marriage for Cai. Cai attended the Zhunan Girls' Middle School at Changsha until 1916. In the winter of 1917–1918, she became one of the first women to join the New People's Study Society, a work study program put in place by Mao Zedong and Cai's brother, Cai Hesen. This group advocated for women to create their own self-help groups and to become active in politics. [3]

In developed nations across the world, the lower middle class is a sub-division of the greater middle class. Universally the term refers to the group of middle class households or individuals who have not attained the status of the upper middle class associated with the higher realms of the middle class, hence the name.

China Country in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Celibacy State of voluntary sexual abstinence

Celibacy is the state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons. It is often in association with the role of a religious official or devotee. In its narrow sense, the term celibacy is applied only to those for whom the unmarried state is the result of a sacred vow, act of renunciation, or religious conviction. In a wider sense, it is commonly understood to only mean abstinence from sexual activity.

Cai, her mother, Cai Hesen, and Cai Hesen's future wife Xiang Jingyu went to Europe, where Cai was a factory worker. She studied anarchism, Marxism, and Leninism alongside other Chinese socialist feminist scholars, including at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East in Moscow. [3]

Xiang Jingyu Chinese politician

Xiang Jingyu, whose old name was Xiang Junxian, was one of the earliest female members of the Communist Party of China (CPC), widely regarded as a pioneer of the women’s movement of China.

Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions and the rejection of hierarchies those societies view as unjust. These institutions are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.

Marxism economic and sociopolitical worldview based on the works of Karl Marx

Marxism is a theory and method of working class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

In 1922, Cai married Li Fuchun, a prominent communist. [3]

Li Fuchun Chinese politician

Li Fuchun was a Chinese Communist revolutionary and politician. He served as a Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China.


In 1921, Cai returned to China, where she studied to become a physical education teacher. She taught for four years at the Zhunan Girls' School, which she had attended several years earlier. During this time, she joined the Communist Party of China. [3]

Physical education educational course related to the physique of the human body

Physical education, also known as Phys Ed., PE, gym, or gym class, and known in many Commonwealth countries as physical training or PT, is an educational course related of maintaining the human body through physical exercises. It is taken during primary and secondary education and encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting to promote health.

Communist Party of China Political party of the Peoples Republic of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

Cai left her teaching job to work for the Central Women's Department in the Nationalist Party in 1925. Two years later, she joined the Central Women's Committee, leading it in Xiang Jingyu's absence. She helped to create the Marriage Decree of 1930, which declared that "free choice must be the basic principle of every marriage." [4] She also helped write the Provisional Constitution of 1931. From 1934–1935, she joined her husband Li Fuchun on the Long March. [3]

Long March Military campaign during the Chinese Civil War

The Long March was a military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south escaped to the north and west. The best known is the march from Jiangxi province which began in October 1934. The First Front Army of the Chinese Soviet Republic, led by an inexperienced military commission, was on the brink of annihilation by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's troops in their stronghold in Jiangxi province. The Communists, under the eventual command of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, escaped in a circling retreat to the west and north, which reportedly traversed over 9,000 kilometers over 370 days. The route passed through some of the most difficult terrain of western China by traveling west, then north, to Shaanxi.

Cai was well known in China after 1949, where she led the All-China Women's Federation under the People's Republic of China. Part of her work in the ACWF included creating a strategy to help privileged women take a leading role in scientific and cultural improvements. This earned her criticism, however, as it supported the Communist Party of China's views that emphasized technological and economic improvement over women's liberation and advantaged only powerful women; it did not help lower-class women, but rather returned them to their pre-war roles. [3]

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  1. 1014. "1990年9月11日 蔡畅因病在北京逝世--资料中心--中国共产党新闻网". Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  2. "蔡畅 简历 - 名人简历". Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Rappaport, Helen (2001). "Cai Chang". Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc. pp. 125–126. ISBN   1-57607-581-8.
  4. "Decree Regarding Marriage". Maoist Documentation Project.