The video shows students at the so-called "female morality school" in northeastern China getting up at 4:30 a.m. to scrub floors and being taught not to resist if their husbands beat them.

Shot with a hidden camera and posted on a popular Chinese video website, the recording shows students being told to put aside career aspirations and, in one instructor's words, "shut your mouths and do more housework."

Such schools appear to be growing in popularity, reflecting a decline in women's status activists say began with the economic reforms of the 1980s.

The gulf is especially pronounced at the highest levels of politics: The ruling party's Standing Committee, the inner circle of power, has never had a female member. In the next tier, one woman sits in the 25-member Politburo.