Helen McLaren


China has experienced rapid social and economic transformation since the early 1990s. While state control has attempted to maintain a collectivist spirit that emphasizes communal goals and obligations over unrestricted capitalism, rapid economic growth has weakened socialist ideals and individualism has thrived. The present paper draws attention to potential associations between the rise of capitalism, individualism in mainland China, the one-child policy and changes in domestic violence laws with the increased perpetration of cold violence by some men towards their female partners. Cold violence refers to an emotional form of domestic violence characterized by a complete withdrawal of all verbal and physical communication by one member of an intimate relationship towards the other. Identified from discussion with key informants and preliminary analysis of English and Chinese literature, the phenomenon of cold violence is suggested to be increasingly used by urban living, educated, wealthy men. While the competing interests of traditional patriarchy and policy supporting women’s gender equity is discussed, it is proposed that post-socialist transformations in urban China that are characterized by rapid socio-economic change and individualism may have provided fertile ground for the rise of cold violence by some men towards their female partners.

Author Biography

Dr. Helen McLaren, BSW (Hons), PhD Lecturer, School of Social and Policy Studies Flinders University Australia.