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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.

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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

Shaanxi Domestic Violence Incident Caught on Home Security Camera, Sparks Online Outrage

The man, a deputy director at a state-owned company, has been fired after the video of the domestic abuse went viral online.

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Home security footage showing a man brutally beating his wife in front of their young child has drawn widespread criticism on Chinese social media. The man, a deputy director at a state-owned company, has now been fired.

A shocking video of a domestic violence incident taking place inside a home in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, has sparked anger across Chinese social media over the past week.

The video, recorded in the family’s living room, shows a man severely beating his wife while their toddler is with them in the room (a blurred video published by The Paper can be viewed here, viewer discretion is advised).

Although stories of domestic violence often go trending on Chinese social media, this case is especially noteworthy due to the fact that the incident was recorded by indoor home security cameras. Security cameras inside the home have become more popular in China over the past few years, especially for families with kids or pets to keep tabs on what is going on inside the living room or other home areas.

The video first shows the man frantically hitting the woman on her head over a dozen times while she is sitting on the couch with the child on her lap. The woman then stands up and seemingly tries to get her daughter somewhere safe while the child cries out for her mum. The man then violently drags the woman away again and resumes to frantically beat her. When the child cries out, the mum tells her “don’t be scared darling” while the abuse continues – the man slaps the woman on her face and pushes her down.

At one point, another woman, who is said to be the man’s mother, steps into the room and takes the young child away without stopping the violence or saying anything at all.

The video of the incident sparked major outrage on Thursday, January 20, as it went viral on Chinese social media and became a hot search topic.

Various hashtags related to the incident ended up as popular searches / trending topics.

The video supposedly surfaced online because the domestic abuse victim posted it herself on WeChat, although this is not entirely clear as her identity and social media information are kept private. The video was posted on Weibo by someone within her Wechat friends group on January 19.

In screenshots that have also gone viral online, the victim speaks about the abuse, claiming it was not the first time for her to suffer abuse at the hands of her husband. She writes that she was also abused, both psychically and mentally, during her pregnancy and shortly afterward and that her husband has also been aggressive with their child.

Many Weibo users who watched the video of the incident already commented that they could tell domestic abuse was normalized inside the Wang family home due to the grandmother’s seemingly calm and indifferent response to the violence.

The man in the video was identified as Wang Pengfei (王鹏飞), a deputy director at the state-owned Shaanxi Airport New Silk Road Trading Company. The company opened up a brand-new Weibo account to post a public statement on the matter, condemning the behavior of Mr. Wang and saying he was suspended from his duties. They later added another post that Wang was fired from his job.

On Thursday, the police also posted on social media to inform netizens that the case was under investigation. Two days later, local authorities from the Baqiao District in Xi’an, Shaanxi, issued a statement regarding the case.

According to the police statement, the 28-year-old Mrs. Wang and the 34-year-old Mr. Wang had an argument on the night of January 18 over a household matter. Mrs. Wang allegedly reacted in an “extreme” way and the conflict between the two escalated, leading to Mr. Wang beating up his wife. Mrs. Wang reported the incident to the police on January 19th.

The police statement said that “both spouses recognized their mistakes” and that, in accordance with the law, Mr. Wang received a five-day prison sentence and Mrs. Wang received “educational criticism.” Being a Party member, Mr. Wang was also given a “severe disciplinary warning” within the Party.

Over the past few years, domestic violence has been a recurring topic on Chinese social media with many voices trying to raise public awareness about this widespread social problem.

In 2019, the Chinese makeup influencer Yuya Mika shared her story as a survivor of domestic abuse in a video that went viral on Weibo. That video contained shocking footage of Yuya’s ex-boyfriend trying to violently drag her out of an elevator – a moment that was also caught on security cameras.

The tragic story of a Tibetan vlogger named Lamu (拉姆, Lhamo in Tibetan) also triggered many discussions on Chinese social media in 2020, after she was set on fire by her ex-husband who previously abused her for years. Lamu did not survive, and her death sparked an online movement advocating for better laws and support systems for domestic abuse victims in China (for more on this story, check out our podcast on Lamu here).

This week, the Xi’an incident again led to online discussions about how Chinese authorities deal with domestic violence. Many commenters argued that the five-day detainment sentence was too light, and others wondered why the wife was “re-educated” by the police while being the victim in this matter, and why it was suggested that her “extreme” response to their argument was what led to the beating.

“As if she deserved the beating due to her lack of good communication,” one person wrote.

Various Chinese state media, including CCTV, condemned domestic violence and stressed that it was never just a “family issue.”

Weibo blogger ‘Marcus Says’ (@马库斯说) posted a commentary on the incident, arguing that it is useless for Chinese state media to claim there is “zero tolerance” for domestic violence in China when the law still does not do enough to punish the wrongdoers and to protect the vulnerable people in these kinds of situations. The post was shared over 7000 times.

But there were also many Weibo users who claimed that it was Mrs. Wang who first hit her husband, arguing that the problem of domestic violence often comes from both sides and that there should be more awareness about women abusing men. Commenter @voiceyaya wrote: “Again we’re talking about domestic abuse and we generally and repeatedly say we shouldn’t blame the victim and that it’s never the victim’s fault, but I don’t think it’s very meaningful. Why can’t we face the reality that many cases of domestic violence involve violence on both sides and that there is a problem of both parties hitting each other?”

There are also those who blame Mrs. Wang for punishing her husband too severely by exposing his behavior online, arguing that he will never get another job now that his name and photo are widely known.

Despite some online disagreements about the case, most people agree that the child’s well-being should be prioritized above anything else. “How tragic for the child, will this really be the last time she sees her daddy hit her mum? She is so small to be immersed in such a frightening scene. This will continue to haunt her for a long time.”

It is currently not known if the couple will divorce, or if Mr. Wang and his wife will be reunited after his five days of detainment are over.

By Manya Koetse

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Sex & Gender

Doctor Livestreams Gynecological Surgery: Video Streaming Site Bilibili Responds to the Controversy

An anesthesiologist from Shandong live-streamed from the operating room while a patient was undergoing gynecological surgery.

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A video on the popular Chinese video platform Bilibili has triggered controversy on social media. On January 15, a doctor was filming during gynecological surgery and live-streamed the entire procedure for everyone to see.

The issue came to light after one Bilibili user posted on social media that he had personally seen the live stream on Saturday, saying that the female patient was under anesthesia and unaware of being filmed. After this person immediately reported the live stream to Bilibili, it was cut off and ended.

The video streaming platform Bilibili responded to the controversy on Tuesday night, stating that the livestreamer was previously warned and cut off from the platform and that he has now been permanently banned. Bilibili also stated they had reported the person to Chinese authorities.

A hashtag related to Bilibili’s statement was viewed over 220 million times on Weibo on Wednesday, making it one of the top trending topics of the day (#B站回应有账号直播妇科手术#).

Chinese news outlet The Paper (澎湃新闻) reported that the doctor in question was identified by authorities and has been arrested. According to one of their sources, the person who live-streamed the surgery is an anesthesiologist who works at Rizhao Central Hospital in Shandong. The case is currently under investigation.

Weibo commenters have responded to the incident with shock and disgust. “This doctor lacks any medical ethics,” some write, with others mentioning how the privacy of the patient has been violated and saying they hope the doctor will be punished for what he has done. There are also those who wonder why other medical staff members did not intervene when they saw the anesthesiologist filming, suggesting this probably was not the first time for him to do so.

The issue has also triggered online discussions regarding Bilibili’s content policies, with some raising questions on why videos or live streams relating to politically sensitive issues will be pulled offline immediately while these kinds of videos can apparently be live-streamed without any problem.

Just a few months ago, similar discussions also trended on Chinese social media after an online influencer committed suicide by drinking pesticide during a live broadcast.

Xiakedao (@侠客岛), a Weibo account run by state media outlet People’s Daily, published a commentary on the recent Bilibili controversy on January 19, stressing that Chinese video platforms should be held accountable for their lack of supervision.

Update January 22:

China Daily reports on January 22nd that eleven people have been held accountable for the live stream and that the doctor, named Li, is currently in custody and is facing criminal charges. His medical certification will be canceled.

By Manya Koetse

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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