Taboo subject takes its toll on women

Updated: 2012-03-08 08:26

By Yang Wanli and Jiang Xueqing and He Na (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

In ancient China, women who had premarital sex or those who committed adultery faced extreme punishment, including drowning and being buried alive.

Zhu Xi, the famous Song Dynasty (960-1279) academic, believed that being chaste was more important to a woman than food, which is one of the reasons why traditional Chinese rules were strictly implemented, especially during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

Taboo subject takes its toll on women

Tangyue village in Anhui province is known for its historical stone archways, one of which was built to honor a woman who remained a chaste widow for 60 years. [Yang Wanli / China Daily]

Women in those periods were required to stay virgins until they were married, otherwise it would bring disgrace to her family.

Tangyue village in the south of Anhui province has a historical monument to ancient Chinese thoughts on social propriety, as well as seven archways. One was built in 1787 in honor of a woman who remained chaste in widowhood for 60 years.

According to records dating back 880 years, the village has had 59 widows who have remained celibate for more than 30 years.

Ling Hanjiao, a 70-year-old resident, said most people in the village are open-minded today: "Second marriages are widely accepted and virginity is not that important if a girl has an excellent character."

Her mother-in-law was a chaste widow from the age of 30 until her death at 80, she said. "She still had a traditional attitude. It's an honorable thing for the family, but painful for her. Such prejudiced ideas should be changed."

You may contact the writer

Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page