16-Year-Old Chinese Girl To Marry 34-Year-Old “Uncle”

16-year-old Wen Wen sits beside her possible husband, 34-year-old Deng Changjiang.

When bringing up how she fell in love with Deng Changjiang, Wen Wen laughs bashfully.

From Chongqing Evening News:

In order to improve their situation through unity, Wanzhou 16-year-old young girl marries 34-year-old “uncle”

Young Girl:

He is steady with the motorcycle, and because he lives close by, we can take care of both families

Matchmaker:

Both families are poor, so it would be better for them to unite into one family to help each other.

Women’s Federation:

If a wedding banquet is held, will communicate and educate them on the laws.

In Huangxian Village of Longju Town of Wanzhou District, 34-year-old unmarried Deng Changjiang and a 16-year-old young girl from the same village are engaged and cohabitating, and will hold a wedding banquet according to local custom at the end of the month. With regard to this, both state: It is completely voluntary/consensual. Both of them come from poor families, the matchmaker who coordinated this marriage said: “Both families are poor, so it would be better for them to unite into one family to help each other.”

The local Women’s Federation state that if they fell in love and marry of their own free will, they will not interfere. However, if the two of them want to hold a wedding banquet, after conducting an investigation and confirming [that it is consensual], they will communicate and educate both sides on “Marriage Law”, “Juvenile Protection Law”, “Women’s Rights Protection Law”, and similar laws and family planning policies.

Deng Changjiang and his cousin.

Deng Changjiang (left) and his family and friends all believe it is mutual love.

34-year-old single man

Dropped out of school after graduating primary school

Father deceased, mother blind. In a impoverished mountain valley, it is difficult to find a wife

Deng Changjiang, 34-years-old, lives in the second group of Huangxian Village of Longju Town. Longju Town is about 18 kilometers away from Deng’s home, which includes nearly 10 kilometers of the 318 national highway, around 5 kilometers of tractor road, around 4 kilometers of a newly excavated road for motorcycles only, and around 1 kilometer of fields.

From his home to the town, one has to first walk around 4 kilometers of mountain roads and climb over a garbage dump before reaching the village. When there is good weather and one can take a motorcycle for part of the distance, one can reach the town in half an hour. However, if one encounters rainy weather, one has to walk the entire path up the mountain, and going to the town will take at least two and a half hours.

In the past in this mountain valley, there were 10 families, but now most of them have relocated onto the mountain, into the town, or into the city. The most valuable thing in Deng Changjiang’s family is that motorcycle, worth over 6000 yuan. Because of a trade-in, he only had to spend over 2000 yuan, but this takes up one year’s worth of his income raising cattle.

Around 6pm the day before yesterday, when this reporter found Deng Changjiang’s home, he happened to be at the front washing sweet potatoes, a meal for two pigs. His family can produce two pigs and one cow each year.

“6 years ago, my father passed away, and my mother lost her sight due to cataracts and needs someone to take care of her, so how could I leave!” Deng Changjiang said. After graduating from elementary school, he dropped out. Previously, people have tried to match him with a wife, but the female side all felt that his home was difficult to reach, that his family’s situation was poor, and would not even give him a chance.

Wen Wen's mother and father.

Wen Wen's parents home is not far from Deng's home.

16-year-old young girl

Dropped out of school in 2nd grade

Mother sick, father weak. The farthest place she’s ever been to was the town

16-year-old young girl Wen Wen (pseudonym) and Deng Changjiang are neighbors in the same village, the two families can even shout and communicate with each other, but because few people have passed through, the village road long ago became overgrown with weeds half as tall as a person, so one must over 1 kilometer following a brook to go between the two homes. Wen Wen’s mother suffers from epilepsy and often has seizures, while her 50+ year old father Wen Benfu’s body is weak, making it difficult for him to work. Longju Town is the furthest place she has ever been to.

Wen Wen’s family of three’s main source of income is a government subsistence allowance [a kind of social security], and apart from this, raising pigs: “But next year’s subsistence allowance, I don’t know why but it has been canceled” Wen Benfu and his wife are together starting a fire to cook, saving the left over charcoal each day to carry into the town each month, each half kilogram worth 6 jiao [0.6 RMB], to exchange for some cooking oil, salt, and laundry detergent.

Huangxian Village once had a village elementary school, with the sounds of children attending class. The village elementary school used to be near Deng’s Changjiang’s home. Back then, Wen Wen attended school at that village elementary school, but she did not like studying, and wouldn’t go even if her father hit her with a stick. She dropped out just after finishing second grade.

After dropping out, Wen Wen still liked to go play near the school, and Deng Changjiang’s place was also somewhere she often went. A villager said, “Play and play and eventually she ended up living there, becoming their wife/daughter-in-law.” According to their ages, Wen Wen can call Deng Changjiang “uncle”.

“I chose the coat, he gave the money.” Sitting in Deng Changjiang’s kitchen, Wen Wen is wearing a pink coat on top, her two cheeks bright red, and shyly laughed: “He is steady with the motorcycle, and because he lives close by, we can take care of both families.”

Wen Wen and matchmarker Zou Shenglun.

It was through a matchmaker's introduction that Wen Wen and Deng Changjiang established their relationship.

They are already living together, but claim they have not yet held hands

In Wen Wen and Deng Changjiang’s minds, their relationship began when the matchmaker officially went between the two side’s parents. When matchmaker Mr. Zou went to Wen Wen’s home to communicate the other side’s intentions, it was the this year’s rice harvesting season.

“Wen Wen often came to my house to play. At such a young age, she was already able to help with some housework, and is very kind-hearted. I too am not young anymore and want to start a family,” Deng Changjiang said. So, according to custom, he had the Zou Shenglun in the village propose marriage to Wen Wen’s parents.

Soon Wen Wen began living in Deng Changjiang’s home. They said, after moving in, Wen Wen helped the Deng family with the housework, and Deng Changjiang also often helps the Wen family do some work that requires a lot of strength. When the matter of how their relationship developed, they said they haven’t even held each others’ hands, but after shaking their heads, both appeared to be secretly giggling.

Reporter mistaken by Deng family to have come to steal [their son's] wife

Right when this reporter arrived at Deng’s home, a middle-aged man brought out an old lady, the two of them demanding, “What are you guys here for? It is none of your business! If you don’t explain, don’t plan on leaving this valley.”

Only after this reporter explained the reason for coming did they reveal they were Deng Changjiang’s collateral relatives who live in Longju: “We were afraid you were here also to steal [Deng Changjiang's] wife, to cause trouble, and specially rushed here to help.”

Deng Changjiang’s cousin said they need to be on their guard now, that as long as strangers enter the village, the moment they enter the village someone will tell them. “This is why we want to hold the banquet as soon as possible, to tell those matchmakers who want to separate them that she already has a husband she is satisfied with,” Deng Changjiang’s aunt-in-law said.

Deng Changjiang says they plan to hold the banquet at the end of the month together with his mother’s big 70th birthday. “We definitely won’t be able to get a marriage certificate [now], but 3 and a half years later when she is 20, we’ll go get it then.”

Wen Wen helping cook at the Deng family home.

Wen Wen is very hard-working in the Deng home, normally helping with some housework.

Young girl:

He is steady with the motorcycle, and because he lives close by, we can take care of both families

Sitting on Wen Wen’s left hand side, this big brother that will soon “marry” her, is someone Wen Wen has known for a long time. When she ditched school in elementary school, Wen Wen would often go play near Deng Changjiang’s home. After Deng Changjiang bought a motorcycle about 6 years ago, Wen Wen would occasionally take Deng Changjiang’s motorcycle to the town.

“At first, he would charge me money, but later he would sometimes charge and sometimes not charge,” Wen Wen said. She thought the reason Deng Changjiang didn’t charge was because they were neighbors who help each other out, and because of this she sometimes would help the Deng family do some work too in repayment.

“He is steady with the motorcycle.” Wen Wen also doesn’t know whether or not the man before her can bring her a happy life, but she candidly says: “We live close by, can take care of both families, so my mother and old man can feel at ease a bit.”

“Big brother”:

She is a hard-worker, and doesn’t look down on me as being poor

“When a boy and girl grows up, they should marry. I am already almost 35-years-old, and still a single man,” Deng Changjiang himself seems very helpless towards his single status. “Seeing others all go out to make money as laborers, moving out of the impoverished mountain valley, he is not very happy inside.”

“The longer one remains a bachelor, the less girls are willing to come consider you as a marriage partner.” Deng Changjiang believes 30-year-old bachelors in the countryside have it worse than 40-year-old bachelors in the cities. With regards to the girl willing to marry him beside him, Deng Changjiang is extremely satisfied: “Though Wen Wen is like me poorly educated, she is a hard-worker, and the key thing is that she won’t look down on me as being poor. I hope that after we become a family, our circumstances will quickly get better, and we can overcome our hardships.”

Wen Wen in the middle, her father on the left (?), and Deng Changjiang on the right.

It was through a matchmaker's introduction that Deng Changjiang and Wen Wen established their relationship.

Male matchmaker:

Both families are poor, it would be better to unite and help each other.

Fellow villager Zou Shenglun told this reporter that according to local custom, women always take the role of matchmaker, yet Wen Wen and Deng Changjiang’s matchmaker was him, a man, making it difficult for him right from the start too, but he still handled it. Zou Shenglun said that in their impoverished mountain valley, with Deng Changjiang’s family’s poverty so obvious, where could one find a wife willing to marry into his family?! And who would be willing to take on the burden of Wen Wen’s parents’ illness?

“Both families are poor, so it would be better for them to unite into one family to help each other,” Zou Changjiang said. This was the main reason he did all that he could do to match together this marriage, and the parents of both parties have verbally agreed to the engagement. As for the details of the engagement, both the male and female parties as well as the matchmaker are unwilling to speak of.

Girl’s mother: Baby is grown up now, can’t control her anymore

During the interviews, Wen Wen’s father Wen Benfu wasn’t very talkative. He did not clearly indicate whether he supports or is opposed to this marriage. “Off at her husband’s place! Very rarely comes back.” Amongst these few words, he has already regarded the Deng family as Wen Wen’s husband’s family.

Wen Wen’s mother expressed, “My baby is grown up now, has two feet, we can’t control her anymore, just hope she doesn’t suffer any misfortune.”

Deng Changjiang's 70-year-old blind mother.

Deng Changjiang's soon to be 70-year-old mother.

Man’s mother: Good! Good! Extremely good!

Deng Changjiang’s mother will soon be 70-years-old, and even though she can’t see what Wen Wen looks like, she still continuously says, “Extremely well-behaved! Likes to help, very hard-worker!” With regards to her son being able to find a wife, the old lady even more happily says, “Good! Good! Extremely good!”

Women’s Federation:

If they get engaged before she is of age, we will seek to educate and persuade

Director Zhang of the Longju Town’s Women’s Federation said that if the two are having a relationship and both sides are consensual, as long as the female party is 14 years of age, even if they are cohabitating, they are unable to intervene. However because Wen Wen and Deng Changjiang’s marriage involves a minor as the female party, if after an investigation that the engagement is true, they will seek to educate and persuade [against the marriage].

“The People’s Republic of China Minor Protection Law” clearly forbids minors from getting engaged, with article 15 stipulating: The parents or other guardians must not allow or compel a minor to get married, or establish a marriage agreement for the minor.

Article 62 stipulates: If the parents or guardians do not lawfully carry out their responsibilities as guardians, or violate the minor’s lawful rights and interest, other present organizations or resident committees/villagers’ committees shall admonish and intervene; and behavior that constitutes a violation of public security administration shall be lawfully punished by the public security organ.

As a member of this newspaper’s legal counsel, Han Zun Law Firm director and lawyer Shen Rengang explained that from the perspective of the law, minors do not have full civil capacity, so even if they consent to the marriage, it does not have legal effect, while the “Minors Protection Law” forbids parents from arranging marriage for minors.

What can we do for them?

Two poverty-stricken families, one family lacking labor, the other family lacking someone to manage the housework, them rushing to create a [combined] “family”, if only to “unite to help each other”.

If both parties were adults, we would definitely wish them well. But when it involves a 16-year-old young girl’s fate, it becomes an awkward topic.

How do we crack this difficult problem? Of course, we hope the local Women’s Federation’s education and persuasion will eventually be effective, putting off this “wedding banquet” that never should have been held at this time. Simultaneously, we hope everyone will offer some ideas, on how they can emerge from their present difficulties and hardships.

Abridged or excerpted versions of this news story have appeared on China Daily, Tiexue, QQ, and many other websites.

Comments from Tiexue:

若木:

As long as there is warmth [love between the two people, working together making each others lives better], who cares about the age. It’s at least more real than those so-called experts who find girls from their granddaughter’s generation.

俺是厚道人:

Doesn’t the news always say peasants/farmers are now all relatively well off?

新英雄无悔:

Hope they will be happy.

甘霖润泽:

Indeed [their lives are] very difficult…but as long as they can be happy!!

sunlei1985:

Why is this girl constantly laughing like an idiot? She doesn’t have any mental problems, does she~~!!?

青卿:

Sadness caused by poverty.

What qualifications do we have as people who have enough food and clothes [the basic necessities of life] to deny them what may be real happiness. Let’s wish them happiness/good fortune!

rcd_zhang:

No one cares if they starve to death, yet there are people who care whether or not they have reached marrying age!

天外来客之帝:

This is just an isolated phenomenon, though in society’s lowest levels there are indeed many poverty-stricken families who find it difficult just to feed themselves! Those who have actually been to those impoverished areas know just how unbelievably hard their lives are!!

Comments from QQ:

腾讯网友:

In the cities, there are 60-year-old men who keep 18-year-old mistresses…the difference is even larger, how come no one reports those?

腾讯网友:

The children of poor people grow up fast! In sadness, I wish them the best/happiness/good fortune! The Women’s Federation should preach less and provide more practical help and support, helping them escape poverty sooner, like helping their elderly with medical care! Wielding the law talking idly rather than going to do some practical work providing help and support, this kind of government department would be better not existing than existing.

腾讯成都市网友:

At least that girl is smiling happily. At least the a family is smiling happily. This is enough.

腾讯浙江省网友:

The wealth gap is so terrible. The impoverished areas are truly too poor.

乱つ是 佳人:

Ignorant and more ignorant, at 16-years-old what does she know? Is today’s China really this poor? I’m speechless.

腾讯网友:

I think more people will be moved by the poverty in the photographs. After so many years following the reform and opening [of China], how severely polarized [between rich and poor] it is. What the ordinary common people hate is not poverty, but unfairness!

Poll

Do you support or oppose this marriage between 16-year-old Wen Wen and 34-year-old Deng Changjiang?

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  • Tadd

    Can I just clarrify something:
    Do we foreigners look down (in general) upon such things? I know the asian attitude is quite different; afterall marrying an older man is often encouraged.

    I personally think it’s disgusting when such things like this occur in a city, but what with it being the countryside, it kind of changes the story.

    • orientalism

      it’s only accepted and encouraged in the poorest and least educated areas. in the cities such things are generally looked down upon. read the comments above

      • interestedtomarry

        lol i am 40 and looking for a 18 yr old chn bride

        i make over 180,000 american per year

        what is wrong with this?

        • brotherrivercrab

          FAIL!

          You didn’t mention your prowess on a motorcycle.

          Now try again.

        • Of Canada

          Plenty is wrong. You will both have nothing in common and eventually the differences will drive you crazy and you will both divorce and she will take half of your stuff.

          • Paul

            I have a lot of young 17 and 18 years text me through the night into the early morning. They text me because their boyfriends are stupid; that is what they tell me. They tell me that they reach the big O by talking to me because they believe that I stimulate them mentally.

            I am not that bright. The girls are hot, and I really like the time that I spend with them. I am in my fifties. I have a lot in common with them so the part about having nothing in common isn’t correct.

        • donscarletti

          You could certainly get one, but she will be of the exact character you would expect from a woman who would marry a man 22 years older than her because he is rich. Unlike her western equivalent, she will probably not divorce you, but you will soon wish she did.

          I would suggest it might be better to meet a 30 something woman. There are many beautiful women in China who cannot easily find a Chinese husband because men do not want to marry a woman of this age. Plus, an 18 year old girl will annoy the hell out of you and will always want to do noisy things and talk about boring subjects.

          However, all in all, I think you are lying. Most 40 year olds who make US$180,000 per year do not say “lol”, they capitalize their “i”s, write currency correctly and don’t speak that crassly. I am 2/3rds your supposed age and make half of your supposed salary and even I know how to write English properly.

        • C.

          That she will be boring, because she is a kid and has interests that kids have. You most likely have different interests. Its easy in China to get tons of 18 year old chicks. Its fun for a while, but I am really fed up with them by now. I’m about your age.

          • Key

            Then you’re just done being with teen girls, don’t say you’re fed up with CHINESE chicks. How you treat them dude? They may be dumb but they are girls just like others all around the world

    • Fat_laowai

      Since when do we look down on such things? 16 years age difference is not that big, plenty of celebrity couple and normal people are in a similar situation.

      The man is ugly though, the girl is obviously cute but that’s common all over the world too. The tragedy in this story is the poverty as other people pointed out.

      • Bing Ya

        Depends on where you live. In ZheJiang it is frowned upon.

      • donscarletti

        Well, in the west, the often quoted formula is age / 2 + 7. Thus the minimum age for a wife for him should be 24 (34 / 2 + 7) and the maximum age for a husband for her should be 18 ((16 – 7) * 2). Honestly, I think the formula works nicely with most people’s cultural norms.

        In China it is different, but I always thought wealth was a major factor. Seems strange to be marrying a poor man for financial reasons. I think she would be better off with a man her age, who would have 18 more years worth of chances for finding prosperity and 18 more years of physical strength for manual labor. If they said the reason is that they loved each other so deeply, despite the age difference then I would support it, as they are not saying that, well, I have to say that it is perverse.

      • http://www.b3ta.com noinnoout

        I actually think the man is rather good looking – and there is something calming and dignified about his face. I like it.

        (Not that it matters, but if anyone is wondering, i’m eurasian)

    • Carl

      why would it be disgusting when it’s in the cities but not the countryside and vise versa? marriage after is a union for the benefit of both parties.

      what would you think if the girl was 14 instead of 16 or the man 54 instead of 34?

      • Carl

        and that was suppose to be “after all”

    • C.

      Why is it “disgusting”?! That’s a rather stupid view, sorry.

      It’s two people choice. As long as they don’t harm anybody, let them do what they want. Even if the guy was 80 years old. Why would you find it appropriate to judge others about that?

  • Haiwie

    Good for them, I think there’s nothing to worry about

    • Cleo

      She’d make more money washing dishes on a Yangtze cruise ship than staying in this podunk town. She should pay HIM to babysit both sides of the parents while SHE works just like those impossibly self-defeating chauvinist stories about the sisters who put their brothers through college because males are considered superior but if that were really true, no brother would need to be subsidized by any sisters.

      • http://baihaifeng.blogspot.com Dr. Jones Jr.

        Except that in China’s extremely competitive society, a 2nd-grade dropout probably can’t even get a job washing dishes on said cruise ship, assuming that she’s even aware that such options exist. Then we also have to assume that she’d be okay leaving her disabled parents and parents-in-law behind with (temporarily) NO support or aid in household duties while she ventures beyond the only places she’s ever known, with little or no money to support the adventure, to be extremely lonely and vulnerable while working for people who would no doubt try to take advantage of her. And to expect that kind of enterprise from someone who dropped out of second grade, not because they were forced to by circumstance? Sorry, but you are advocating a recipe for enslavement into prostitution, not womens’ liberation or a Horatio Alger fable.

        There are an awful lot of assumptions in what you’ve just suggested. It’s not easy–for us–to understand all of the hurdles a person so disadvantaged would face, some of which might just be in her own mind, but very real to her regardless.

  • Song Yan

    I don’t know what to think. Culture and circumstance, it’s a bitch.

    On the double standard side of things if this was the other way around (young man older woman) would some people have such a problem.

    Countryside and the old school way of doing things, I ask what would be a better situation? because life for them seems to be fucked as is, might as well be together with good people as a family.

    As long as it’s an innocent relationship I see nothing wrong. Year by year it would be less of a problem until no problem exist.

    Yet when it came to voting:
    Do you support or oppose this marriage between 16-year-old Wen Wen and 34-year-old Deng Changjiang? I opposed

    So in the end, it depends. Fart

    • Curt

      Amen to your first line. My first reaction is that a 16 year old can’t rationally make such a big decision (if I married the girlfriend I “loved” when I was 16….OMFG) but given the circumstances if I were face-to-face with them I wouldn’t throw any judgment.

  • Ethan

    From what I recall, according to Lonely Planet Chinese law stipulates that a woman must be 20 years of age to legally marry. Has this law changed? Does it not apply to the countryside? Is it customarily overlooked there?

    • Sunni

      I understand that some times it’s easier to tl;dr, or skim through things… But I’ll quote the article for your sake:

      “We definitely won’t be able to get a marriage certificate [now], but 3 and a half years later when she is 20, we’ll go get it then.”

      They’re only planning to hold a banquet now.

  • Nereis

    Before love, there was survival. If the two of them are willing then the government should just *$%# off with their preaching.

  • xmcx

    So why can’t they just live together and work together until she turns the right age, and then marry?
    Did someone go and report child abuse to the police or something?

    • brotherrivercrab

      obviously someone was jealous of Deng Changjiang’s motorcycle and ratted them out.

      “THEY SEE ME ROLLIN… THEY HATIN”

  • http://www.matthewsawtell.com Matthew A. Sawtell

    Hm… looks like the only thing missing from this story is a couple of folks playing “Dueling Banjos”.

    Yet, I do feel sorrry for these two families – because now that this story is out in the “international press”, it is only a matter of time before the local, provincal, and federal authorities comes down on this group like a ton of bricks. Got everything here from child marriage to possible attempted bribery.

    • Spanky

      China does not have a federal style of government. Therefore, no federal authorities. Assume you mean national auhorities.

      • http://www.matthewsawtell.com Matthew A. Sawtell

        Remember, “National” is still a ‘no-no’ word in P.R. Chinese vocabulary – hence if the orders come out of Beijing, then it’s ‘federal’.

        • http://baihaifeng.blogspot.com Dr. Jones Jr.

          Or ‘central’, probably. You usually see a lot of references to ‘central government’. With all the chauvinistic hoopla going on, though, one wonders how long before ‘national’ is officially rehabilitated (I’m going on your word on this one as there doesn’t seem to be an aversion to the word in English-language Chinese press).

        • http://www.foarp.blogspot.com FOARP

          For something to be “federal” you need a federation, which China is not.

  • Spanky

    Tying two rocks together won’t make them float.

    • Carl

      what a wonderfully articulated dehumanization comment.

      • Chris

        Chris approves of this discussion with a hearty rofl.

  • chengdude

    Bernie Ecclestone, 80 year-old billionaire CEO of F1 is bonking a 31 year-old Brazilian girl who can look down and see his scalp…now that’s repugnant.

    • Alex

      It would be nastier if he was with her when he was 65.

    • Rick in China

      If I was an 80 yr old billionaire I’d want to be up in a young brazillian cupcake too. Wouldn’t you?

    • pug_ster

      That’s nothing, Hugh Hefner is marrying Miss December who’s 24 years old.

  • Bob

    With all that smiling she’s either really happy or she’s a bit “touched” in the head. And with a 2nd grade education, and he with a 8th grade education, I bet they both think a stork (or whatever the Chinese equivalent is) will be delivering them a baby soon.

    I hope it works for them, but damn, I wish girls in this country saw “driving steady on a motorcycle” as a turn-on.

    • Chef Rocco

      The Chinese equivalence of stork is Guanyin, the Bodhisattva responsible for gifting babies.

      IMO, “Driving steady” should be considered a turn-on, for instance, certainly Mary Kopechne wouldn’t consider “Ted” Kennedy hot after he drove his car off a bridge and let her drowned.

      • http://baihaifeng.blogspot.com Dr. Jones Jr.

        Granted, Ted Kennedy wouldn’t find her hot after that either, unless he was into necrophilia.

  • GrandpaBoughtARubber

    seems a tough life so a good story overall. not so controversial as long as girl is not being forced into it. poverty is extreme so sometimes extreme answers are needed to fight it.

  • dirtywhiteboy

    damn to be a peasant in China….

  • Alex

    When she’s “smiling” like that she looks more like making an effort to take a dump.

  • Cleo

    Her eyes are strange. Is this supposed to be a Light in the Piazza situation? Because in that story, wealth was an important component of making such a relationship work. I don’t think that two drowning entities can help each other learn to swim by merging. That’s just my instinct and it looks like two sets of incompetent parents gave birth to their own elder care. Doesn’t seem fair to the children to be raised with this mindset. Traditional marriages of necessity really are not Darwinian. So many people are not qualified to attract a worthwhile spouse yet they end up being married and validated.

  • Single Dad

    To some, they consider such things as this as taboo.

  • ST

    They seem content enough in the photos. Given their respective situations it really doesn’t seem like a bad deal for each of them. Good luck to them.

  • Goddamn Mongorians!

    Is it just me or does it seem like that village could do with some fresh blood anyway..?

  • Chen

    May God bless their blessing. Both volunteered for this. They have my best wishes, although they will never know

  • Daniel

    To my Chinese brothers,
    If this happened in the United States, the National Organization of Women (a feminist organization in the United States) would be spewing pure vinegar and piss at this situation.

    Looking at the situation without the lens of radical feminism of the west, this relationship seems fine.

    Peace,

    -Daniel (a laowai from California).

    • SonofSpermcube

      My mom’s parents (probably more her mother, who was a crazy bitch, her dad was a cool dude) tried to convince my mom to do something like this, in the US, circa 1970.

  • moody

    as some said above, she seems happy about it, then we should have no objection

    Hard to find women in poor area of China now, they all have fled to the cities

    On the same note, there was this 40 something yo man who BOUGHT a 13 yo wife here in China, not two months ago I heard that on the radio
    when interviewed he said he saw nothing wrong with that
    Why not an article on that one instead

    Has anybody seen this chinese movie : a couple of women from the city, being promised some good job, kidnaped then sold to some poor family in some far away village
    the whole family helping the son to rape that poor woman again and again

    • outcast

      Because in China women dont really have rights, and what little they have has simply been handed to them by the CCP.

      • moody

        I’ll have to disagree on that
        Women have as much rights as men, often more as they are more legally protected
        now lots here tend to sell those rights of freedom and independance for the possibility of a financial support

        Misery suck, and women are the first to pay for it

    • rigmortis

      Here in Malaysia, we were shocked by recent news that a 14 year old bride was married to a religious school teacher in a government mass wedding ceremony.

      Local dailies followed up by publishing even more controversial marriages of 11 year old bride to a 41 year old man and another 10 year old girl to a 40 year old man this year alone.

      Not here to stir up racial sentiments, but for Muslims, one of their logic for this is that even Prophet Muhammad was engaged to one of his wives when she was just 6 or 7. He was way older than that, but I cannot remember by how much.

      This happens only in the rural. Even some Muslim city folks were appalled by this, but not to the extent that it was nullified. Its perfectly legal in the sharia court.

  • mankouzanghua

    interesting article and netizen comments. thanks!

  • Ho Hum

    Why is this noteworthy? She’s not that young. He’s not that old. Big deal.

  • Justin

    Speaking of “young love” I just coincidentally read this at the same time about an incident in America.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40754159/ns/technology_and_science-security/?gt1=43001

    • moody

      Sweeeet, another NAMBLA member
      i say let’s put his balls in the meat cleaver

  • Chef Rocco

    As far as I know, Switzerland just legalizes consensual incest, the concerns in China about “young love” seems very “trivial” and “backward” compared to the extremely liberal laws in Switzerland..

  • Dawei

    In my experience countryside people tend to be more open and welcoming and tend to smile more particularly when new people are around. A sort of mix between being polite and a bit embarrassed.

    Getting married at sixteen is a bit unusual these days in the city but not uncommon in the countryside, and a woman marrying someone older is as old as the hills.

    I think what people are getting so uncomfortable with is not the age difference 16 years is not that much, it is the fact she is 16 and not 20, 25 or 30. Sixteen being too young to make your own decisions they may be thinking. Countryside children grow up a lot faster than their pampered city peers, and already know a lot about what life involves by then, much like westerners did 50 or 100 years ago when if a woman was not married by 18 she was passed it.

  • fireworks

    Very hard and tough situation to be in. Thing is there is an age gap but it seems they come from the same village, background and history so the differences are only miniscule. The guy deserves a chance to get married.

  • Billy

    I bet if we examined our own family trees – a lot of our ancestors probably came about through relationships just like this one. I have no doubt at all that if I took a peek at my family history up in rural Scotland – lots of my great great great etc grandmas and granddads are like the two people above. Life must be hard, let them have whatever happiness they can get hold of.

  • 老外

    I’ve been thinking about what to say… I just can’t think of anything. What the heck? I mean… this is weird. I voted “support” because it just seems… that they may both be mentally ill.

    I’m just not sure. I’m still on the fence about this. It seems wrong, yet not wrong… weird… but the age of consent in my state is 16, so…

  • aok

    Well, the Girl has limited prospects due to her education level… and parental situation. Even if she managed to find an outsider to marry… who would help take care of the elderly, she wouldnt be assured a happy life. That man could just as easily abuse her, & or be cold towards her later, cheat on her..etc. And she would have to adapt somehow to a busy way of life that she may never feel at ease with… as she was raised a simple woman at heart… and seems very happy being that way.

    The guy is equally problematic. Both have tragic lives to be lived.

    Together, they could actually be much happier.

    I also agree with the statement.. that this girl is not really child. Shes had to grow up a long time ago just to survive. Unlike some pampered teens who have not even cooked a meal for themselves.

    And also, Marriages used to be done at much younger ages. Again, because times were harder, and people were more mature at a younger age. The life expectancy was a lot shorter too.. so it was almost a necessity to birth children as soon as possible.
    (Biologically speaking, we all know that nature allows for very young impregnation)

    In most cases, I would agree that this would not be ‘Right’. But in this case, I think its the best solution… as long as she truly is willing.

    The man seems to have a good heart, and they both seem to be happy together. I say, let them be.

  • C.

    > but because few people have passed through, the village road
    > long ago became overgrown with weeds half as tall as a person,
    > so one must over 1 kilometer following a brook to go between
    > the two homes.

    China is so funny. Just take a f*cking machete and cut those weeds. Oh no, better wait for the government to not do it.

  • QQ: 1146332410

    who can marry that girl or who can marry that man this age is not a big matter for marriage. their life is better than who are prostitutes. young girl lie with old men for money. but these people marry and have a respectful life. they marry without compulsion, then it is ok. who are we to stop them. no one has the right

  • Gao Fu Le

    All you need is love !

  • Ronbo

    I am 43 my Chinese wife is 25 so actually we have a larger age gap but we met when she was 20 and I 40…..I hope they make it and wish them luck. In former times marriage for poor people was a matter of survival…That seems to be the case here

    • Ronbo

      I meant she was 23 sry

      • Lila

        When you met your wife she was already an adult. Wen Wen was only 16! Not yet an adult , I wouldn’ oppose if she was 18 or 20, but 16 is still too young. I think the families should have waited at least one year or two. It’s not the age gap that bothers me but the fact that she was 16 at the moment this artcile was written.

        • procrastinatoroftheuniverse

          even in the US, there are some states where the age of consent is 16 and underaged (16) girls can get married as long as their parents give consent…i also think she’s too young but she seems happy and safe.

  • http://chinasweat.blogspot.com/ Mike Lovett

    What always amazes me are when Americans, Englishmen, Canadians, Australians chime in on these kind of articles, and how disgusted they are by it. Yet each and every person from those mentioned countries have either a grandparent or a great grand parent who did EXACTLY the same thing–older man marrying a young 14, 15, 16 year old girl. It was a very common practice back in the the 1800s on up through the early 1900s. Hell, even up until I would say the 1960s, especially in rural America and Canada.

  • Justin

    Yeah I recall a girl in my high school who was about 17 and she was dating a guy who was 29 or 30, so what is one or two years difference anyhow?

  • Ho Hum

    16? Yeah, it’s young. Enough to make the headlines? Not even on a slow news day. She’s legal by two years in the Middle Kingdom. Can’t see what the fuss is about. This is barely worth a bored “so what”.

    What’s a newsworthy marriage, you may ask. Well, what about that stupendously tall old guy marrying the young girl in Inner Mongolia? Now that’s a carnival of freaks, and is definitely worth a gander.

    This story is distinctly humdrum in comparison, and in fact isn’t even particularly unusual when compared to an “average” marriage in the countryside.

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