Official Discourse on Family and Fatherhood in Post-1949 China


  • Tingting Tan Kyushu University



Chinese fatherhood, official discourse, gender roles, child-rearing, household duties.


This paper aims to investigate three main research questions regarding the history of family and fatherhood in China since 1949: a) What 'ideal father' has the party-state sought to promote at different times? b) How consistent have official messages been? What have been the key shifts in official discourse on family and fatherhood since the Mao era? c) Why have these shifts occurred? Analysis of selected policy statements and print media reveal four main phases, with distinct findings in each. During the period of collectivization (1950s to 70s), the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted the nationalist model of parenting. Fathers were explicitly suggested to devote themselves to economic development. During the period of de-collectivization (late 1970s to mid-1990s), CPC adopted an individualist model of parenting. There was increasing encouragement for father's participant in child education. During the period of marketization (mid 1990s to 2011), CPC promoted a state-supported model of parenting. Father's active participation in household duties was more expected. During the period of individualization (2012 to the present), China set up community model of parenting. Father's dual role of nurturer and provider is more emphasized.

Author Biography

Tingting Tan, Kyushu University

Tingting Tan is an academic cooperative research fellow at Kyushu University, Japan, whose particular research interests are about fatherhood studies from a comparative perspective. Her Ph.D. dissertation title is 'Official Discourse on Chinese Fatherhood since Mao era'. Ms. Tan holds a master degree in mental health education from Beijing Normal University (China). She has separately done exchange studies at University of Hohenheim (Germany) for the 2016-17 academic year, at Yeungnam University (South Korea) for the 2012-13 academic year, and at National Pingtung University (Taiwan) for the 2010-11 spring semester. As a visiting scholar, Ms. Tan has separately run cooperative research projects at University of Chicago (USA) for the 2018-19 summer semester, at University of Helsinki (Finland) for the 2017-18 winter semester, and at Stockholm University (Sweden) for the 2016-17 academic year. Up to date, she has already published one book chapter in Routledge and fourteen papers about fatherhood research on the renowned international journals and international conference proceedings.



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How to Cite

Tan, T. (2020). Official Discourse on Family and Fatherhood in Post-1949 China. Masculinities &Amp; Social Change, 9(2), 174–206.