May 2015

He raped me! A Nanjing contract worker speaks out (1972).

(click on the title to view the document)

In 2014, altogether 6,620 cases of rape were reported to the police authorities in Sweden. This figure equals roughly 68 cases per 100,000 population. Half a century ago, in 1963, some 17,622 rape cases – a scarcely believable less than 3 cases per 100,000 population – were reported to the police in China. No statistics are available for the years 1964–1970, but otherwise a chronology compiled by the Ministry of Public Security in 2003 provides annual figures for the entire Mao-era. The figure for 1963 actually indicated an astonishing increase by 160% over the previous year and in a report to the CCP Center reprinted in Public Security Construction on 21 January 1964, the Ministry of Public Security Party Group maintained that this reflected acutely ”an aspect of the influence of the bourgeoisie”!

Rape statistics are notoriously difficult if not downright impossible to compare. Under-reporting is the norm as far as all forms and cases of sexual assault are concerned, be it in China or elsewhere. Had it not been for the unique circumstances of the Cultural Revolution, the author of the present Document of the Month would almost certainly never have gone public with what happened to her. In late 1965, she had been a recently married young contract worker in a small Nanjing factory, and the man who raped her was her factory’s manager and party secretary. Her two-page accusation, together with a handful of related records from 1972, survived in her thin factory file which ended up on sale in a Nanjing flea market in the late 1990s.

The original has been typed out and anonymized by me. I dedicate this Document of the Month to an old friend, the awe-inspiring Susan Avila-Smith, founder of VetWow.