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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.

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

Papi Jiang Receives Online Backlash for Giving Son Her Husband’s Surname

As a role model for female empowerment, Papi Jiang should not have given her child her husband’s last name, ‘feminists’ on Weibo say.

Manya Koetse

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An independent woman such as self-made superstar Papi Jiang should not have given her child her husband’s last name, Chinese self-proclaimed feminists say. The issue became top trending on Weibo this week.

China’s favorite online comedian and Weibo superstar Papi Jiang (papi酱) has received online backlash for giving her baby her husband’s surname.

The online controversy erupted on Mother’s Day, when Papi shared a photo of her and her baby on her Weibo account, that has some 33 million followers.

The Weibo post that became unexpectedly controversial, screenshot by What’s on Weibo before post was removed.

Papi Jiang (33) recently became a mum and wished all mothers a “Happy Mother’s Day” in her post, which addressed how being a mum is one of the most tiring tasks she has ever faced in her life. The internet celebrity also posted about suffering from mastitis (inflammation of the breast) while breastfeeding.

Underneath the post, Weibo users started a discussion on Papi Jiang being a mum and why such a successful self-made woman had opted to name her baby after her husband, instead of giving him her own surname.

Dozens of disappointed fans, internet trolls, and self-proclaimed feminists accused Papi of not being an “independent woman,” and some even suggested Papi was a “married donkey” (婚驴) for “blindly following the common rules of a patriarchal society.”

Papi Jiang (real name Jiang Yilei) is a Beijing Central Academy of Drama graduate who rose to online fame in 2015/2016 with her sharp and sarcastic videos that humorously address relevant topics in Chinese society.

She has been a highly successful as a career woman; since as early as 2016, companies offer millions to get Papi Jiang to promote their brand in one of her videos.

The comedian is often seen as an online role model for female empowerment; not just because of her economic success and independence, but also because her success is not based on her looks – which generally is the case with many female online influencers in China. Proudly identifying herself as a “leftover woman” in the early days of her rise to fame, and not afraid to use vulgar language, she was a breath of fresh air in China’s ‘Big V’ culture.

Papi once said that the most important person in the life of an independent woman is herself.

The vlogger already learned that fame can be a double-edged sword back in 2016, when she was targeted by online censors for spreading “vulgar language and content.”

This week, the controversy over the surname of Papi’s child temporarily became one of the most-searched hashtags on Weibo (#papi酱孩子随父姓引争议#), and some Chinese media outlets also reported the issue.

As per China’s Marriage Law of 1980, parents can give their child either the father’s or the mother’s surname. It is relatively unusual for parents to give their newborn the mother’s name, but there has been a recent rise in the number of babies to receive their mother’s surname.

Although Papi faced backlash for supposedly not being ‘independent’ for giving her child her own family name, many of Papi Jiang’s have come to her defense today. According to some Weibo commenters, the people who are criticizing her are “braindead single feminists” or “internet trolls projecting their own unhappiness onto Papi.”

At the time of writing, Papi Jiang’s Mother Day post and the one addressing her mastitis seem to have been removed.

By now, online discussions have also shifted to address what feminism actually is – and whether or not those attacking Papi over her child’s name are feminists or not.

“Some feminists on Weibo are truly ridiculous,” another person writes: “They talk about feminism all the time, but are quick to point their finger at women, what’s that about?”

“I am a real feminist,” one commenter writes: “The core of feminism is all about giving women the freedom to choose. This also means that women have the freedom to give their child the dad’s name.”

To read more about Chinese feminism, also see:
Liberal Writer Li Jingrui Angers Chinese Feminists: “Weaklings and Warriors Are Not Defined by Gender”
Is There No Chinese Feminism?

To read more about Papi Jiang, check out these articles.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
With contributions from Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

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©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Memes & Viral

IKEA China Masturbation Video Causes Consternation on Weibo

For some people, IKEA apparently feels a little too much like home.

Manya Koetse

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A video of a woman masturbating in an IKEA store in China has gone viral among Chinese social media users.

In the video, a woman is filmed while fondling herself within an IKEA store while regular customers are shopping in the background. The video is rumored to have been filmed at the store’s Guangzhou location.

In the 2-minute video that is making its rounds, the woman is first posing on an IKEA sofa – without any pants on – pleasuring herself while another person films her.

Another shot shows her masturbating on an IKEA bed with multiple customers passing by in the background, seemingly not noticing the woman’s behavior.

In a third scene, the woman continues to masturbate within one of the store’s showrooms.

Since the pornographic video has spread across Chinese social media like wildfire, IKEA China released a statement on its Weibo account on May 9th, in which it condemned the video.

The Swedish furniture company stated that it is “committed to providing home inspiration for the public” and strives to provide a “safe, comfortable, and healthy shopping experience and environment” for its customers. IKEA further writes it “firmly opposes and condemns” the video.

In 2015, a similar incident went trending on Chinese social media regarding a video of a naked girl and a man having sex in a fitting room at the Sanlitun location of Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo.

Because of the unlikely combination of a ‘sex video’ and ‘Uniqlo’, many people wondered at the time if the viral video was actually a secret marketing campaign meant to spice up the image of Uniqlo – something that was denied by the chain.

Later on, five people were arrested over the sex tape and the personal details of the woman in the video were revealed and shared by Chinese web users.

“This is the 2020 Uniqlo,” one commenter said about today’s IKEA controversy.

Although IKEA has filed a police report against the people involved in the making of the video that has now gone viral, the identities of the woman and her accomplice are not yet known or revealed at the time of writing.

Some netizens suggest the video was filmed some time ago – in the pre-COVID-19 era – since the people in the background are not wearing face masks.

The controversy has not made the IKEA brand any less popular on Chinese social media – on the contrary. On Weibo, thousands of web users have posted about the issue, with many flocking to the IKEA Weibo account to comment.

Underneath an IKEA post promoted with the brand’s slogan “Your Home, Your Way” – that now seems a bit dubious – people are leaving all sorts of comments about the video.

Although some people express anger over the woman’s vulgar behavior, there are also many people who seem to find the controversy somewhat amusing, and many others who want to know where they can find the video.

“I’m asking for a friend,” is one of the comments that is currently recurring the most in threads about the video.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
With contributions from Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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