Li Hongxia and her husband, Zhang Yazhou, in a 2013 photograph. Her husband has admitted that he strangled her but said it was a mistake. (Giulia Marchi/For The Washington Post)

The May 3 front-page article “Abuse in China’s culture of silence ” illustrated the many barriers that block progress on domestic violence. From laws and cultural attitudes to training and access to services, the path to ending family violence is long — something many in the United States know well.

In addition to working on this issue in the United States, the Obama administration has made addressing violence against women a priority in U.S. foreign policy. As part of our efforts, we recently wrapped up an exchange between Americans and Chinese on how to best address domestic violence, with a focus on training.

As the tragic story of Li Hongxia demonstrated, China has a long way to go. Its new anti-domestic violence law is a necessary but insufficient step. China, with the help of its civil society, must recognize domestic violence for what it is: a crime, not a matter for women to address on their own.

No country has ended domestic violence. But breaking the silence — and opening the discussion in homes, communities and countries — take us one step closer to achieving this goal.

Cathy Russell, Washington

The writer is U.S. ambassador at large for
global women’s issues.