The Good Women of China, Xinran
At the start of this collection of true-life stories, Xinran is working as a female radio presenter in Nanjing in the late 1980s when she receives a letter from a young boy pleading for help – an old man in his village, he says, has kidnapped a young girl and is keeping her tied up with an iron chain. Reluctant police eventually track down the girl, aged only 12, but for saving her, Xinran receives only accusations of 'stirring up the people'. She asks herself in shock – what is a woman’s life worth in China?
This narrative is Xinran’s mission to discover the answer to that question, opening up her radio show to allow listeners to anonymously leave their stories, and travelling the country to speak with women about their experiences. She pulls no punches, with accounts of rape, forced marriage and abuse at the hands of husbands and official figures. The strength of Xinran’s work is in her compassion for the characters in her stories, the personal, unpolished text, relating intimate and often shocking details of unbelievably difficult and painful lives.