Rape in Peking: Injured Woman, Microhistory and Global Trial

Chunmei DU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


In December 1946, college student Shen Chong was raped by an inebriated US Marine in Peking. Although the initial trial by the court martial in China found the Marine guilty, the verdict was overturned by Judge Advocate General of the Navy in Washington. Student protests quickly turned into a nationwide anti-American movement. In contrast to previous studies that emphasise the event's political impacts from the perspective of American imperialism and Chinese nationalism, this article shifts both the focus and scale of inquiry from the macro of national and international politics to the micro of a Chinese woman's body, investigating the particular mechanisms through which injustice towards a Chinese woman was executed in the US justice system. Probing along and against the ‘archival grain’ in both countries and languages, this article argues that such injustice was not only grounded in the political hegemony of the US military empire, but also resulted from a flawed legal system steeped in racial and sexual biases against Chinese women. This article further suggests that in order to understand this key chapter of Sino–US history, we must bring back to the centre of our study the injured woman, a figure that has remained largely invisible in the grand narratives of conventional political and diplomatic history.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalGender and History
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article is dedicated to Shen Chong and Chinese women, especially the younger generation, who have shown remarkable courage and wisdom during recent crises, fighting for the un‐silencing of their voices and the visibility of their experiences. I am grateful for the meticulous suggestions from Hu Cheng, Tony Harkins and Y. T. Huang which have helped shape this article. Invaluable feedback from Ying Zhang, Shellen Wu, Bin Yang, Zuo Shuangwen and the two anonymous reviewers at the different stages of this work has greatly enhanced its quliaty. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Women's Writing Group in Hong Kong, which has been a source of unwavering intellectual and emotional support. This research is supported by a scholar grant from the Chiang Ching‐kuo Foundation, a general research grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (13602120) and a Faculty Research Grant from Lingnan University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Dive into the research topics of 'Rape in Peking: Injured Woman, Microhistory and Global Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this