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The Beijing Conference was a watershed moment in the history of the global women’s movement and had an unprecedented impact in the Global North and South on lawmaking, institution building, and movement building. This Article details the development of women’s activism in China since the Beijing Conference and how a changing legal landscape impacts this activism. While its progress is emblematic of the inconsistencies in the progression of women’s rights activism since the Beijing Conference, China’s efforts have been significant and varied and represent a model for other countries seeking to reform women’s rights legislation. This Article identifies important lines of inquiry that merit further investigation in China and offers insights for conducting similar investigations elsewhere. This Article also outlines a framework for the shifting nature of women’s legal activism from 1995 to 2020 and the ways that the international community can capitalize on these changes and continue to galvanize efforts toward legislative and cultural reform. This Article concludes that the Beijing Conference’s goals may be actualized with financial backing and an apolitical and academic focus, and asserts that increased unity among activist groups is needed in China.


Chinese law reform, social movements, women’s equality, feminism, legal activism, domestic violence, MeToo, online organizing, LGBTQ advocacy, United Nations, CEDAW

Publication Title

UCLA Women’s Law Journal

Publication Citation

28 UCLA Women's L. J. 7 (2021)