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China Sex & Gender

Woman Forced Into Abortion after Boyfriend Cannot Afford 200.000 RMB ‘Bride Price’

When a young man could not afford the ‘bride price’ of 200.000 RMB (30,680 US$) to marry his pregnant girlfriend, the woman was forced into abortion by her father. The unfortunate man shared his story online, drawing the attention of Chinese media and Weibo netizens.

Manya Koetse

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When a young man could not afford the ‘bride price’ of 200.000 RMB (30,680 US$) to marry his pregnant girlfriend, the woman was forced into abortion by her father. The unfortunate man shared his story online, drawing the attention of Chinese media and Weibo netizens.

A netizen from Zhuhai, Guangdong province, recently shared on an online forum that his pregnant girlfriend (originally from Jiangxi province) was taken to the hospital by her father for an abortion after he was not able to come up with the 200.000 RMB (30,680 US$) ‘bride price’.

A ‘bride price’ is an amount of money or goods paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family upon marriage, and is a long-standing custom in China since the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE). In order to pay for the ‘bride price’, families are known to save up money for a long time, or even to take out loans for it (Jiang & Sanchez-Barricarte 2012, 2). According to some scholars, the money mostly is used to finance the new family life of the bride and groom nowadays (2012, 5).

The person who shared his story online, nicknamed ‘Cockroach Is Not a Cockroach’, said that he was happy when he discovered his girlfriend was pregnant last December. The young couple planned to tell their parents and get married right away. But the girl’s father insisted that marriage could only take place if the man would first offer a monetary gift of 200.000 RMB. The young man, who could not afford such an amount, offered the father to first pay him 50.000 (7670 US$) and then pay off the rest of the amount within two years, but the father refused. Even the man’s highest offer of 120.000 RMB (18,400 US$) was allegedly declined. The next day, he says, the young woman was taken to the hospital by her father for an abortion.

‘Cockroach Is not A Cockroach’ wondered if this issue was about paying a ‘bride price’ or if it was more like the father was actually selling his own daughter.

A journalist from Yangcheng Evening News investigated the story, reporting that the average ‘bride price’ in Guangdong’s Zhuhai city varies between 30.000-60.000 RMB (4600 US$-9200 US$), but that house ownership generally is the most important prerequisite for marriage. Locals said that money was actually not most important, and that family background and the man’s character also played a major role when their daughters get married.

featwhatsonweiboThe story made the front page in the Yangcheng Evening News

The ‘bride price’ phenomenon in contemporary Chinese society is closely related to the surplus of men. It is expected that one in five eligible men will not be able to find a bride in 2020. Because of the (statistical) difficulties of finding a partner, Chinese men are willing to pay increasingly higher amounts of money for their bride – a trend that has been continuing since the 1980s (Jiang & Sanchez-Barricarte 2012, 2).

In the meantime, the topic has become a hot issue on Sina Weibo, where many netizens seem to agree with the father: “The boy’s family has no resources, and the father raised his daughter like a princess. If the man cannot even give 200.000, then why would the dad give his daughter away?”

“Everyone wants to have a grandchild, the father surely had his reasons to do what he did,” another netizen comments. “The point is not the 200.000, the point is that the dad knew this man would not make his daughter happy.”

“I spoke with some friends from Jiangxi about this the other day, and the bride price indeed is high. A friend of theirs asked 560.000 (85.905 US$) as a bride price. But after the wedding, she took the money back with her to her husband’s home. The money is actually meant to make sure the daughter will be treated well” – says one popular comment.

Many netizens also write that the couple was stupid to get pregnant before getting married: “I thought about this, and I think the man has no responsibility, and the girl has no brains. Still, the dad should not force her into abortion. He should’ve let them stay together. If they’re together, they won’t be able to bring disaster to other people,” one Weibo user says.

“I personally think your daughter is certainly worth 200.000, but here’s the problem; even if he gives you 200.000, doesn’t mean they’ll be happy together. What matters most is happiness – not money”, one netizen concludes.

– By Manya Koetse

References

Jiang, Quanbao and Jesus Sanchez-Barricarte. 2012. “Bride Price in China: the obstacle to ‘Bare Branches’ seeking marriage.” The History of the Family 17 (1): 2-15.

Image: news.iqilu.com

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Sex & Gender

Beijing Introduces New Rules: Employers Can No Longer Ask Female Candidates about Marital or Childbearing Status

It’s supposed to promote equality on the job market, but will it change things?

Manya Koetse

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Chinese employers are reportedly no longer allowed to ask female job candidates if they are married or have children. But will this help the position of Chinese women on the job market?

Nine government departments in Beijing have jointly released a document stating that employers are no longer allowed to ask female job candidates about their marital or childbearing status.

Although the issue made headlines in China on June 27, a document issued by the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in February of this year already contained the stipulations. The notice shared by state media today is dated May 20, 2019.

The document is titled “Notice on Further Strengthening Recruitment Management to Promote Women’s Employment” (“关于进一步加强招聘活动管理促进妇女就业工作的通知”) (link), and states that no requirements for gender should be included in any recruitment plans or interviews.

Xinhua News reports that the document prohibits asking about the marital or fertility status of female candidates during interviews, and also eliminates pregnancy testing from pre-employment health examination lists.

The recent move is part of a wider effort led by China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security to ban discrimination against women in the workforce.

Companies violating these rules will reportedly be fined 10,000 yuan ($1452) or more if they refuse to correct their practices.

At time of writing, the topic “Recruiters Cannot Ask about Women’s Marital & Childbearing Status” (#招聘不得询问妇女婚育情况#) received over 340 million views on social media platform Weibo.

 

Gender discrimination on China’s job market

 

Gender discrimination in the job-search process has been a hot topic in China for years. A 2015 study found that 87% of female college grads say there is gender discrimination for female job candidates.

The position of women in China’s job market is a complicated one.

On the one hand, education levels for women have greatly improved among Chinese women over recent decades, bringing greater gender equality – not just within the family, but within the society at large.

China boasts one of the higher levels of female labor force participation in the world. In 2018, the female labor force participate rate was 61%.

But at the same time, Chinese women face huge disadvantages in their working lives. Preferences for male candidates are ubiquitous in job advertisements, or may state that women who are married with children are preferred candidates. On average, women also still earn 36% less than men for doing similar work.

Since the end of the One Child Policy, social pressure to have a second child and calls for extended maternity leaves for women are potentially harming the (economic) position of women in China in the long run.

With a 98-day paid maternity leave and paid leave for prenatal checkups, Chinese laws on maternity leave are quite generous. But because this significantly increases the financial costs for (private) companies, many employers would rather hire a man than a woman who has not had children yet.

With the introduction of the “two-child-policy”, a woman could take a total paid leave of almost 200 days if she had two children. Calls to extend maternity leave to three years caused controversy on Weibo in 2014, when women said that nobody would hire a woman that could potentially be gone for six years.

In 2018, news came out that one school in Zhengzhou, Henan, had a policy of giving ‘time slots’ to female teachers to get pregnant with their (second) child. When one female teacher fell pregnant before her ‘turn’ was up, she was dismissed.

Earlier this year, the case of a woman in Dalian who was let go by the company for falling pregnant within her trial period also ignited discussions online.

When women who are already employed have a baby, they also have a greater chance of being demoted or earning less. A survey by job recruitment site Zhaopin.com found that 33 percent of women had their pay cut after giving birth and 36 percent were demoted (NPR).

When it was announced in 2016 that Anhui province would introduce a paid ‘menstrual leave’ for working women on their period, many female netizens protested the policy, saying that granting women special days off would only “make it even harder for women to be hired.”

 

Will this really help?

 

As for the latest announced regulations – many netizens are not too optimistic that they will actually change the position of women on the job market.

“Lazy politics, do they think that a few laws will solve the basic problem? And that companies will listen?”

“How will you implement these regulations?”, others wonder.

“Even if they’re not allowed to ask, they have others way to find out your status,” another person writes.

One Weibo commenter remarks: “I asked my friend who works in human resources if they really ask these questions. He answered: ‘Of course we don’t, that would be very unprofessional.’ ‘But if you filter out the resumes do you take gender into account?’ He answered: ‘Ha ha ha! Of course we do!'”

Some responses on Weibo are even more pessimistic, saying: “This will just make companies deny women of a certain age altogether. If you really want to change things you should give both men and women maternity leave.”

“To be honest,” one commenter named Absolom writes: “The costs that come with women’s childbearing should either be a responsibility taken up by the family (if you think that childbearing is a private affair), or by the state (if you think heightening childbearing rates is of importance to society). The ones least responsible for this are companies. If you put all responsibility on companies, I’m afraid that it’s still the women who suffer in the end. If they’re not allowed to ask, these companies simply won’t hire women of childbearing age at all.”

The majority of comments on Weibo also convey the idea that the policy might lead to companies not hiring women at all anymore; making things worse for them instead of improving their position on the job market.

But not all responses are negative. “I do support this policy,” one person comments: “When I just graduated and was looking for a job, one employer once expressed his concern over my single status, [saying] they were afraid I’d get married. Recently I was also looking for work, and one person straightforwardly asked me if I was okay with quitting my job if I’d get pregnant.”

Even so, the supportive comments are difficult to find among the thousands of reactions. “Are you 30 and single?” one Weibo user writes: “You might as not go to the job interview at all anymore.”

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Local News

Horrific Dalian Attack Dominates Discussions on Weibo: Suspect Arrested

People’s Daily writes the attacker suffered from “mood swings” after a fight with his girlfriend.

Manya Koetse

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A gruesome attack on a woman walking the streets alone was caught on surveillance cameras this weekend. The violent assault has been a major topic of discussion on Chinese social media for the past two days. After a manhunt for the attacker, state media now report that he has been arrested.

A shocking surveillance video capturing a female pedestrian being attacked and severely beaten by a man is dominating discussions on Chinese social media these days.

The surveillance video started making its rounds on WeChat and Weibo on Monday. The extremely disturbing footage shows how a woman is walking by herself and is then approached by a man who beats her to the ground, severely kicks her head and body some twenty times, tears her clothing, and then drags the woman away by her hair (warning graphic).

Chinese authorities and social media companies could not seem to find the source of the video right away.

Since the footage was captured at night, it did not clearly show the surroundings, leading to police all across China launching an investigation to find out more about where this took place. On Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Public Security asked the public to provide leads on the incident.

It now turns out that the horrific attack occurred on June 22 at 0:44 AM in the Ganjingzu district in the city of Dalian, where police received a report that night that matches the incident on the video.

The victim has been identified as the 29-year-old Wu, who is reported to have suffered “soft tissue damage to her face” due to the attack, and who has since been discharged from the hospital following treatment.

Although some netizens questioned how it would be possible for the victim to only suffer “soft tissue damage,” further details were not disclosed.

The security company which the surveillance camera belonged to stated they did not know how the video had leaked online in the first place.

On Tuesday afternoon, some reports claimed the attacker had not been arrested nor identified yet. Other reports said that Dalian police were investigating a suspect by late afternoon.

 

He suffered from mood swings after a fight with his girlfriend.”

 

On Tuesday night at 23:45, state media outlet People’s Daily reported on Weibo that the suspect had been detained.

The newspaper stated that the suspect is a 31-year-old man from Dalian named Wang. According to People’s Daily, he suffered from “mood swings” after a “fight with his girlfriend,” and randomly attacked and molested the victim “after a night of drinking.” He has now confessed to his crime.

Photos of the alleged suspect are making their rounds on social media, although official sources have not confirmed that these photos are indeed of the 31-year-old Wang.

By now, the Weibo hashtags “Man Beats up Girl in the Middle of the Street” (#男子当街暴打女孩#) and “Woman Viciously Beaten and Dragged Away by Man Late at Night” (#女子深夜遭男子暴打拖行#) received a staggering 1,35 billion and 120 million views, showing that this case is closely followed by Chinese netizens – comparable to the Didi murder cases that also received major attention in 2018.

Many comments on Tuesday night criticized Chinese state media for reporting on the suspect’s alleged “mood swings.”

“This brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘mood swings’,” one commenter noted. “Let’s hope his prison cell mates will beat him every day he has a ‘mood swing.'”

“I don’t want to know anything about his feelings before he used this kind of violence! I don’t want to know anything about his experience! It’s never a reason to do this to a stranger!”

“So mood swings lead to people randomly attacking and molesting an innocent passer-by?!” Others wrote: “He broke up with his girlfriend and wanted revenge on all women.”

In late May of this year, a young woman was stabbed to death in the city of Nanchang, in what appeared to have been a random attack; the attacker, a 32-year-old man, was unable to find a wife and suffered from a mental illness.

In 2015, a man with a sword stabbed a woman to death in front of the Uniqlo store in Beijing’s Sanlitun area. That same year, another Chinese man stabbed five random women who resembled his ex-girlfriend.

About the Dalian case, one commenter says: “This degree of violence just makes my blood run cold. For the police, it might just be another case, and they’re not making a big fuss about it, and that saddens me.”

Another Weibo user writes: “The evil for women in society is just too much. To be violently attacked like this on your way home – it’s just inexplicable. I hope the victim will get well soon.”

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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