With the movie remake being announced, which btw is based on mostly folklores and not real history, there are a lot of discussions on Chinese social media about Mulan. I read an interesting story today about an actual "Hua Mulan" in Chinese history.
Source 1946.5.17 Ta Kung Pao (About Ta Kung Pao)
Title: A girl dressed as man in the army for five years, was found out and raped, then attempted suicide (sorry for the bad translation.. that's pretty much the whole story tho)
Content: The Xichang ROC army found a cross-dressed female soldier, and the story spread around the city. This soldier is 17 years old, from Tibet (XiKang at the time) and has been in the army for 5 years as an orderly. One day in April, an company commander found that his wife lost a piece of clothes, blamed this orderly and forced "him" to compensate. The girl ran to another commander for help, but got tied up and sent back to the original company. The original commander was enraged that the girl wanted to escape, and wanted to spank "him" 100 times, strip "him" naked and banish "him" from the army. The girl begged to be hit in the palm instead, but got denied. The commander had 4 other soldiers flip "him" over and hit "him" with a carrying pole. The girl passed out at 70 hits, and then the 4 soldiers poured cold water to wake "him" up, and hit another 30 times, for 100 in total. They stripped the girl's upper clothes and were surprised to find chest binders. Then they stripped "his" pants and found out "he" was a girl.
It turns out that this girl escaped her family because she was forced to marry someone. She said she was in a middle school, but she refused to share any info about her parents or address. The story got out and shook the city, people flooded in to care for her, and gave her pocket money. Females students came in and shook hands with her in tears (weird but it's in the original text).
However, the commander and the 4 soldiers got into fights over who's gonna marry this girl. And before the girl could fully heal, she was raped and attempted suicide out of disgust and guilt, but was eventually saved.
A little depressing…
Source: reddit post