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Tan Weiwei’s Song Sparks Discussion on Domestic Violence in China

Well-known mainstream Chinese singer Tan Weiwei tackles domestic abuse in China in her latest pop hit, “Xiao Juan.” While sparking some controversy, the song has also captivated and inspired thousands of Chinese women since its release. 

“Xiao Juan” is just one of the most striking songs on Tan’s latest album, 3811. “Xiao Juan” is a name often given to female victims of violent crimes in China, similarly to “Jane Doe.”

In the song, the lyrics condemns misogyny and victim-blaming in China, referencing specific cases of violence against women. The real-life cases reflected in the song include influencer Lamu being burned alive, women being dismembered, or their bodies being dumped in suitcases or in a fridge on a balcony.

Domestic abuse has been a taboo subject for many, especially in China. It continues to be an issue, especially amid the pandemic which has seen a rise in domestic abuse cases all over the world with the victims stuck at home with their abusers. 

According to Beijing women’s rights group Equality, at least three women died of domestic violence every five days in China from 2016 to 2019. While there have been police action and new laws, the anti-domestic violence law still focuses on mediation, most likely coercing the victims to go back to their abusers. Just last year, China introduced a new 30-day cool-off period before couples can get a divorce, resulting in the same problem.

Not much regard has been given to the issue in China, but it has recently dominated the country’s headlines and come to the forefront ever since the Me Too movement gained momentum in China in 2018. 

Tan has made use of her popularity not just to spread awareness regarding the issue, but to help empower women in the process, giving them a sense of importance and reminding them that they’re not alone. A lot of people have thanked Tan for standing up for women, not just those abused in China, but around the world.

In reply to one of these comments, Tan shared, “It’s not courage. It’s just a sense of responsibility.”

You can watch her performance of the song here:


For more C-pop songs, check out the 2020 releases you should listen to here.

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