Chinese grifters posing as brides work the countryside

Marilyn sez, "The Wall Street Journal reports on the overabundance of Chinese men of marriageable age (currently 32 million more men than women, roughly the population of Canada). Consequently women are charging much higher bride prices (equivalent of 5 or even 10 years' farming wages) and there are scams in which women show up in rural towns with particularly unequal male-female ratio, and pose as relatives of a town resident. They negotiate a high bride price and then take money and run."

"She called me soon after she left," says Mr. Zhou, a slight man with a tentative smile. He says she asked how he was doing, and apologized for the hardship she had caused. "I told her, 'I will see you again one day….'"

Last December a family friend told his mother that her nephew recently married a girl from neighboring Sichuan province. The bride had three female friends visiting her, who might be interested in marrying local men, said this friend.

Encouraged, Mr. Zhou and his mother met the three girls the next day. After an hour's chat with the trio, who claimed to be ages 23, 25 and 27, Mr. Zhou found himself drawn to the prettiest and youngest, Ms. Cai, who had angular features and an ivory complexion.

He proposed marriage. She agreed, with one proviso: cai li of 38,000 yuan, or roughly five years' worth of farm income. The Zhous agreed, but took the precaution of running a quick background check. Tang Yunshou, Xin'an's Communist Party secretary, said Ms. Cai's identity and residential papers checked…

Meanwhile, Mr. Zhou is still lovelorn. "I feel I can't hate her," says the deserted husband, who is now so depressed his parents have forbidden him to leave the village, as he longs to. "She must have her own troubles."

It's Cold Cash, Not Cold Feet, Motivating Runaway Brides in China

(Thanks, Marilyn!)

(Image: Mei Fong/The Wall Street Journal)