Though some see Jiang as a cautionary tale against the ruthlessness of power-hungry females, she claimed she was only following orders. “I was Chairman Mao’s dog. I bit whomever he asked me to bite,” Jiang told the court.
Pre-communist history offers similarly scant inspiration.
Annals are rife with scheming concubines who helped unseat emperors by distracting them with carnal pleasures, a perception that Hong Kong University history professor Zhou Xun says still lingers.
“Historically, women were quite often seen as trouble, as linked to the downfall of dynasties,” Ms. Zhou said.
Today, the Communist Party’s intolerance for grass-roots campaigning has left little room for the growth of a feminist movement that could bring women into the streets to demand equal pay for equal work or more political participation by women.
One of the few independent Web forums dedicated to women’s issues, Feminist.cn, has been shut down repeatedly by authorities.
Ms. Liu is seen as a long shot for the Standing Committee, but there are a few other women competing for posts on the Politburo, including anti-corruption watchdog Ma Wen and Fujian Party Secretary Sun Chunlan — only the second woman since 1949 to head a province as party secretary.
By Elaine Donnelly
Extending sexual misconduct to combat units
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention