Lorna S. Wei

Assistant Professor, Central University of Finance and Economics

Lorna S. Wei is an assistant professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. She received her PhD in English Linguistics from the National University of Singapore in 2020. Her thesis was titled "A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of Ideological Conflicts in We-media Representations of Bride Price in Mainland China". She was an English major in the Department of Foreign Languages at Harbin Engineering University (HEU) from 2009 to 2013 and obtained her BA from HEU in 2013. She joined the Institute of Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Peking University in 2013, obtaining her MA in 2016. Her MA thesis was titled “A Gender Study of Interactional Strategies in Marital Conflict Talk”. Her research interests include language and gender, feminist critical discourse analysis, and media representation of Chinese women.

The Tangshan incident revealed that the gangsters' violence derives from the age-old patriarchal ideology pervading Tangshan to some extent. (Illustration: Lorna Wei)

A personal account of Tangshan's dreadful societal culture

The Tangshan assault case unearths deeper societal issues such as an insidious guanxi culture that has condoned the practice of turning a blind eye. Worse, ordinary folk no longer even bat an eyelid at such “norms” anymore. When that happens, is the recent violence enough to jolt society and the authorities to do things differently?
Based on the photo in this marriage certificate, the appearance and age of the woman the authorities initially identified as 'surnamed Yang' did not match the footage of the chained woman circulated online. (Weibo)

‘The world has abandoned me’: Chinese women married into slavery?

Chinese academic Lorna Wei says that the authorities’ determination to root out human trafficking may waver, but netizens’ voices speaking up for the victims — often women married off into other counties — will not be silenced. This may be the only comfort that countless women suffering alone can take solace in.
People pray for good fortune on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Yonghe Lama Temple, in Beijing, China, 19 February 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

New Great Wall of China against Covid-19 built with flesh and blood of the little people

Musing that it will be a muted Chinese New Year celebration this year for migrant workers and those struggling to make ends meet, Lorna Wei asserts that Covid-19 has changed the lives of the people forever and in the World War III being fought, future generations must remember that it was the full cooperation and obedience of ordinary folk that won the war.
People dressed in Hanfu, or Han clothing, walk at a theme park on Chinese National Costume Day in Changsha, Hunan province, China, 26 March 2020. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Was the Tang dynasty the golden era of women's rights in China?

Just as women in China today, especially rural women, have to contend with male favouritism and diminished rights, women in the Tang dynasty were also restricted by rules and social practices, even if the era in which female emperor Wu Zetian ruled was thought to be the golden era of women’s rights.
This photo taken on 6 October 2021 shows staff members spraying disinfectant at Gulangyu as the island prepares to reopen to tourists after being closed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Xiamen, Fujian province, China. (STR/AFP)

Animal protectors and feminists hindering pandemic work in China?

Sadly, a Chinese pet owner in Shangrao, Jiangxi province, had the dubious honour of witnessing via pet monitor the culling of her Welsh corgi, right before her eyes. The perpetrators? Covid-19 community workers who have now given their peers a bad name. This is not just an issue of animal rights, Lorna Wei asserts, but also one of privacy and information disclosure, personal safety, and the abuse of power.
A couple hug as they look out at a night view through a fence at the Central Television Tower in Beijing, China, on 26 August 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Rape accusations in China: When wives protect their errant husbands

The alleged rape case involving a former Alibaba manager kept netizens riveted as charges were dropped as quickly as arrests were made. Unlike the #MeToo movement in the West where many of the victims rally around each other to seek justice against their oppressors, in China, the female victims — those preyed upon and the wives of the alleged perpetrators — seem to be fighting each other in the aftermath of tragedies. Why aren’t the males involved manning up and owning up?
A public screen displays an advertisement for Stella Artois beer in Shanghai, China, on 18 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's forced drinking culture a submissive test for Chinese women

In a deeply misogynistic society, some men take agreeing to drink as consent for inappropriate behaviour or even sexual assault. Society compounds the problem by judging the victims and perpetuating their cycle of self-blame. It should instead focus resources on changing people’s attitudes about women. Equally important is educating men and women about consent — no really means no and only yes means yes.
A woman holds her child outside a shopping mall in Beijing, China, on 1 June 2021. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Why Chinese women are unwilling to give birth

Respect. Lorna Wei says the nub of the issue in the low fertility rate in China lies in that one word. Growing up in a patriarchal society, daughters in China have for years been looked upon as second to sons. When they become wives, mothers and daughters-in-law, they shoulder the bulk of familial duties while trying to keep their jobs. Any fertility policy should first address greater equality between the sexes. Only when parents are assured that their burdens will be shared can they look forward to having more children.
In this photo taken on 5 March 2021, a couple visits the promenade on the Bund along Huangpu River in Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Women leaders in China: Why people are more interested in their love affairs

Chinese academic Lorna Wei notes that there have been several strong and powerful women throughout China’s history, but their political achievements have often been dwarfed by stories of their love lives. It’s not more women leaders China needs, but better ways of telling their stories, she says.