The paper is based on a recently completed study in China and the UK of young people's experiences and perceptions of violence in the family and their views regarding future relationships. The paper focuses on one aspect of the research, looking at the Chinese students' attitudes to future relationships, and in particular their views on issues of violence against women within this context. The study involved a questionnaire survey of about 500 university students (both men and women) in China and similar numbers of students in the UK, using the same instrument, plus follow-up interviews with 15-20 students in each country. The findings are examined against the backdrop of the increasingly global concern with gender violence, and in particular the developments in China regarding these issues. In China, developments regarding violence against women have become apparent in the past decade - in the period leading up to and since the UN Women's conference in Beijing. New Chinese legislation regarding the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests was enacted in 1992, and the new Marriage Law in 2001 explicitly mentioned domestic violence for the first time. In China research, policies and practice regarding domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape are now in process of developing. The paper questions whether the developments regarding gender violence are in any way reflected in the way the students responding to the questionnaires and interviews appear to see the use of violence in their own relationships.
Professor Marianne Hester is Chair in Gender, Violence and International Policy at the School for Policy Studies and Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Bristol. She is the author of Children and Domestic Violence: 2nd edition (Jessica Kingsley 2006) and Mothering Through Domestic Violence (Jessica Kingsley 2006) and co-author of 'Comparison & collaboration: researching young people's experiences and perceptions of violence in the family in China and the UK' in Skinner, T, Hester, M and Malos, E (Eds.) Researching Gender Violence: Feminist Methodology in Action (Cullompton: Willan Publishing 2005).General information on WUN seminars at Leeds can be found at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/international/wun/wun_seminars.html