Much Pain, No Gain

Forced marriages. Baby drownings. Rapes. Anyone who has followed the history of Chinese women cannot help but be touched by woeful tales of indignity, torment—even torture—that innocent daughters, wives and mothers have suffered. Consider the story of Hongxue, a bright girl whose father began sexually abusing her at age 11, and who then repeatedly injured herself in hope of stopping the assaults. After several episodes of incest followed by long hospital stays, she effectively committed suicide by rubbing a dead insect into her self-inflicted wounds, eventually succumbing to a fatal infection.

The emotional recounting of Hongxue's short, unhappy...

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