BEIJING (Reuters) - A quarter of Chinese women have suffered domestic abuse, the government said in a survey issued Friday, showing the ongoing struggle of women in a society in which Chairman Mao Zedong once famously said women hold up half the sky.
The definition of domestic abuse includes physical assault, deprivation of personal freedom, illegal control of income, rape and verbal humiliation, the official Xinhua news agency said of the survey, conducted nearly a year ago by the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) and the National Bureau of Statistics.
Of more than 105,000 women surveyed last December, 5.5 percent said they had been physically assaulted. The rate was 7.9 percent in rural areas and 3.1. percent in urban areas.
The news agency did not say why it took so long to release the survey results but it noted that domestic abuse became widely discussed last month after a Chinese celebrity's wife posted online photos depicting her alleged abuse.
China does not have an independent law on domestic abuse, Xinhua reported, and only a few laws, such as a marriage law, address the crime.
A representative of the ACWF told Xinhua that the group was pushing the government to adopt legislation, and the news agency said Chinese legislators might release a law by December.
(Reporting by Sabrina Mao and Michael Martina; Editing by Ken Wills and Robert Birsel)