Nushu or "female writing" was invented about 3,000 years ago in Southern China as a way for women to communicate with each other privately. A gentler, more feminine version of the regular Chinese characters, most translated pieces of the writing speak of the oppression, low social stature of and cruelty women experienced. Many give words of hope and support to each other. Only 2,000 characters of this language have been found, from pieces of etched bone to tapestries with the lettering worked in.

In the 1930's and again in the 1960's, those behind the wars and uprisings burned thousands of Nushu texts, as well as many other ethnic minority's writings in an effort to keep the little known languages from being used for spying. Some of the languages that survived are today's Korean and Tibetan. As of 2002, there were only two women alive who could read and understand Nushu. Yang Huanyi was 93 and He Yanxin was 63. They were working with Chinese scholars to research, teach and preserve the language.

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