The follow excerpt is from a news article in Beijing News (via netease.com) on December 2, translated by CDT’s Lucy Lin:
At the moment, there are 87 million “remain villagers” (Liushou Renkou: meaning those villagers stayed in the rural areas while their family members went to work in the cities.) nationwide. A study conducted by the China Agriculture University on the population that stays behind in villages showed that among the 87 million “remaining villagers”, 20 million are children, 47 million are women, and approximately 20 million are seniors.
At yesterday’s news conference regarding this issue, the vice president of the College of Human and Social Development at the China Agriculture University Ye Jingzhong said that through its survey, the research team discovered that the women who stay behind in rural villages have secretly voiced the problem of sex repression: “For long periods of time, they are sexually repressed, bringing a chain of negative sentiments.” The investigation showed that 69.8% of these women frequently felt restless, 50.6% of them frequently felt anxious, and 39.0% of them frequently felt repressed.
Blogger Hong Qiaojun (洪巧俊 ) commented on this news on his blog on ifeng.com: “Who have the 47 million ‘institutional widows’ embarrassed?” (excerpt translated by Lucy Lin)
I call these 47 million women who stay behind in rural villages “widows” because their sex life is the same as that of a widow’s. However, I’ve put quotations around the term because they’re not really widows, and they all actually have husbands. Not long ago, there was a report that said 90% of the wives of corrupt officials were living a widowed life and called these women “rich widows.” Of course, the “widows” from the rural villages and the “widows” from families of corrupt officials are different in nature. The “widows” of the rural villages are constrained by the pressures of home life as their husbands labor outside the village for long periods of time while they have to stay at home to look after the children as well as cultivating the fields; the “widows” from families of corrupt officials are “widows” because the corrupt officials are always out engaging in debauchery and not coming home all night. One is well-fed and clothed but wants lust, and one is poor but wants to be well-fed and clothed. These are two completely different living circumstances.
Who let these 47 million women become “widows” not just in name, but in reality, too? Without a doubt, it is the legal, institutional divide between residents in the city and the countryside, and so calling them “institutionalized widows” is more appropriate.