Tan Shen was born in 1951. She worked in county government and in a factory before becoming a journalist. Years of working with peasants helped her identify with ordinary people. Since 1993 Tan has been active as a committed, socially aware and responsible intellectual. Engaged in academic research and social activities concerned with rural-urban migration, she provides decision-makers with information and constructive suggestions for social transformation. She is currently with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Cass).
Tan Shen was born in Guangxi Province. In 1968 she moved to the countryside in Shanxi Province after finishing junior high school education in Beijing. She recalls: “Thirty years ago, as one of millions of educated youths leaving for the countryside, I lived in the rural areas for several years. Those years of living on the land molded my everlasting ‘popular mentality’, i.e., what I am most deeply concerned and impressed with is the ordinary people’s status and changes. This is because the harmony and stability of society do not hinge on a handful of the privileged, but rather, the majority at the bottom layer of society.” In 1986, Tan began work as a researcher at the Institute of Sociology at Cass. Since 1993 she has worked on specific issues of rural women workers in Beijing, Sichuan Province, Hunan Province and Guangdong Province. Tan provides decision-makers at central or local government level with constructive suggestions about rural-urban migration. She directs public attention to the marginal group of rural migrants through seminars, conferences and publications. Her works have inspired a number of students, particularly postgraduates, to be committed, socially concerned and responsible scholars. Tan is always careful to represent others with care and respect: “I have a deep respect for rural women workers who have to negotiate difficult conditions. Their toughness and determination are not only the foundation of this old country’s everlasting spirit, but also the great driving force of social transformation.” As an organic intellectual, Tan also makes use of her scholarly research for social transformation.
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Cass)