China: Xia Wang

We have to do at least one thing in our life. To do one thing means to have it done, without giving in even in face of difficulties.

— Xia Wang

Wang Xia, a peasant woman, uses art performance as a means to promote the Party and state policies that defend the rights of peasants. She works to enrich the material and spiritual life of peasants, and foster harmonious village development. The “Happy Peasant Cultural Society,” which she set up in 2005, offers many programs and contributes much to the village’s cultural development.

Born in 1969, Wang Xia is a peasant woman from Dengfeng City in Henan’s central mountain district. She uses literature and art to encourage villagers’ participation and to popularize messages from the Party and the state that are beneficial to peasants. In June 2000, with an initial sponsorship of 2000 yuan as startup capital, she set up the Rainbow Arts Performing Team and directed the jingle, “Family Planning is Good.” In 2001, "Mountain Flower," a play based on real-life cases of unequal land distribution and abuse of peasant women, became a great success. It was performed more than 100 times. Wang’s works, including “Mountain Flower,” “Red Leaves,” “The Hope of the Village,” and “Calculations of a Young Couple,” were turned into a TV series. Among them, “Mountain Flower” is her signature work, the most influential masterpiece. Wang registered the Happy Peasants Cultural Society in January 2005, with different units, including the promotional unit (the former art performing team), the elderly unit, the health unit (providing health support for women), and the anti-family-violence unit. These touch upon various aspects of village life and as the activities increase there is higher participation. Wang Xia has worked for a long time to mobilize peasants, and through her work she has established the importance of using literature and art to create public awareness.

Happy Peasants Cultural Society