Caixin
Nov 12, 2022 10:00 AM
WEEKEND LONG READ

Weekend Long Read: In China, Millions of Women Never Learned to Read. Can TikTok Help?

Many illiterate women in China are learning basic literacy skills via online classes on social media apps such as Kuaishou and Douyin, China’s version of TikTok. Photo: VCG
Many illiterate women in China are learning basic literacy skills via online classes on social media apps such as Kuaishou and Douyin, China’s version of TikTok. Photo: VCG

(Sixth Tone) — At first glance, Liu Bingxia’s lesson looks like any regular Chinese class: The 47-year-old stands in front of a blackboard, reading out the characters she has neatly written in white chalk. “‘Siji’ — driver,” she said, then calls on students to repeat the word back to her.

But Liu is no ordinary teacher. Each of her online lessons is attended by thousands of people from all over China. They are overwhelmingly female, mostly working-class, and often from ethnic minority groups. And they are desperate to learn. 

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