外国记者 Foreign Correspondent

Reporting in China

A meeting with China’s most famous sexologist

with one comment

December 12, 2009


I spent Saturday morning trying to write up the story from Harbin, but failed to finish. Saw Adam Dean, who is now accredited as the Telegraph’s photographer, for lunch near the Drum Tower. David Eimer, another Telegraph journalist, had introduced me to a Guizhou restaurant only a couple of months ago, so we headed there only to discover that it has since transformed itself into a Sichuan “dry” hot pot place where they pour a range of hot ingredients into a large bowl and mix in the Mala – or Sichuan peppers and chillis.

We then visited Li Yinhe, the sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who has broken endless ground with her work on China’s sexual revolution. Or at least I think she has. Since none of her work is available in English, we had not read any of it, and consequently the interview was vaguer than it should have been.

Li’s husband, the novelist Wang Xiaobo, died over 10 years ago and she lives quietly in an apartment in a remote suburb. Pictures of her grandchildren are on her mantelpiece opposite a print of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. On the floor sat a pair of happy pig statues.

Over her career, Li has repeatedly called for China to modernise its laws regarding pornography and sexual behaviour. We’re lucky to get the interview. A couple of years ago, a weary Li said she was feeling tired of talking about her studies. Although she said senior officials no longer regard her work as politically sensitive, she was still under pressure to maintain decorum. She said she was going to stop publishing sex-related papers and speaking to the press.

She answered our questions briefly and efficiently, but we never really connected properly. Understandably, she came across as either guarded or just bored of our ignorance. The interview didn’t throw up much that we didn’t know already, although she did tell us about her latest project.

She is studying families in five cities across China, from Harbin to Guangzhou, and how their family structure fits together. She said she had been expecting to discover that China was becoming more Western as it develops and that the traditional Confucian obligations between children and their parents were breaking down, to leave couples as the main nucleus of a family. But in fact, she said, the bonds between fathers and sons, or mothers and daughters, remains tight and the family unit spends a lot of time together still.

Oddly, she also found few regional differences in family behaviour between north and south, although she did say that while most families in China have either a dominant husband or an equally-matched husband and wife, the situation in Harbin was different. Up north, either the husband is dominant, or the wife is dominant, but the two are rarely evenly-matched, she said. “They have strong characters,” she smiled.

周六早上,我开始写哈尔滨无煤村的报道,但没能完成。中午和Adam Dean在鼓楼碰头吃饭,他现在已经是每日电讯的专职摄影师了。David Eimer,我们的另一位记者,几个月前带我去了鼓楼附近的一家贵州菜,回味三日,所以这次还是朝着那家奔去。结果门面没换,菜却变成了川系的麻辣干锅,就是将各色热食放进一个大锅,用没麻辣炒拌。

Written by malcolmmoore

December 22, 2009 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. 1.中国家庭父母和子女关系确实在改善。正如陈志武所言,人们已经开始逐渐意识到,家庭关系很难像其他关系一样进行货币衡量或者市场化。加上现在的房子、汽车等大件耐用品,父母不得不出钱,形成家庭成员的捆绑消费,所以家庭的代际关系就更加难以用产权、货币等加以衡量,也一定程度上让人们意识到了家的重要性。


    December 22, 2009 at 11:06 am

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