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Following her mother's death, Wu Mei's (Adeline Yen Mah) father remarries a much younger Eurasian wife. Chinese Cinderella, the autobiography of Wu Mei's childhood, describes how the children of the second marriage are favoured above those of the first and how as a young child Wu Mei is singled out for cruel treatment by her parents. After enduring humiliation and deprivation she is eventually abandoned in a convent school, a certain target for communist hostility. Yen Mah tells her story without bitterness, writing about tender moments in relationships with her aunt and grandfather and occasional moments of solidarity with her older brothers and sister. Although troubled at home she finds solace at school and earns the respect of her teachers and friends. An absorbing story of triumph over adversity, told against the background of the Nationalist/Communist struggle for control of China.