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Chinese Man & American Woman Have Rural Traditional Wedding

Rebecca Kanthor and Liu Jian's traditional rural wedding in Henan, China.

Rebecca Kanthor and Liu Jian's traditional rural wedding in Henan, China.

From Sina & Tiexue

Young Henan man rides horse and uses bridal sedan chair to marry an Associated Press female journalist

The Bride

Kang Rui [Rebecca Kanthor]: New Yorker, graduated from Philadelphia University, came to China 10 years ago, editor for Zhejiang English language magazine “In Touch Zhejiang”; from 2009 till now a journalist for the Shanghai branch of the Associated Press.

The Groom

Writer, musician.

Liu Jian: Minor celebrity in Shanghai. He is a contract writer for Zhejiang province literary magazine “Jiangnan“, has published the full-length novels 《战士》[“Zhan Shi“, soldier] and《退伍兵》 [“Tui Wu Bin“, veteran] which have been translated into English and German, and CNN (American cable television), ARD (German brpadcast television channel), NHK (Japanese broadcasting association), Dragon TV and other media have all reported about him. In 2008, he founded “Shanghai Folk Rock United”, and is an important figure in the Shanghai folk music scene.

Liu Jian riding a horse, clearing a path for his American wife who was riding a bridal sedan chair carried by four men.

The Wedding

Riding a proud horse, marrying an American girl

Yesterday morning at 11:30, this reporter arrived at Liu Jian’s hometown in Dongan and saw bride Kang Rui (Bec) [Rebecca Kanthor] helping her mother-in-law Zhang Hong prepare lunch.

“Happy New Year!” Kang Rui said fluently in Chinese upon seeing this reporter enter, surprising this reporter. Zhang Hong laughed and said that Kang Rui’s Chinese is good, that she is both filial and humorous, that “on the afternoon of the 28th day of the 12th month [the day before Chinese New Year’s Eve] when she came home, she immediately began busily sweeping the floor, helped prepare the three meals of each day, and served the first bowl of cooked dumplings to her elders.”

On the 6th day of the first month of the Lunar New Year (February 8th), Kang Rui and Liu Jian held their wedding ceremony. “Kang Rui traveled far to marry here, so our family used our most traditional method to receive her ‘into our home’.” Zhang Hong said she was carried in a sedan chair as her son cleared the path riding a big and tall horse, blowing suona horns and banging drums to marry her into the family.

“On the sedan chair, I had a red veil on my head, and was continuously on the phone with my parents and siblings, them sharing my happy moment.” Kang Rui said.

Henan Chinese native Liu Jian marries American Rebecca Kanthor.

The Romance

One song “Nai Nai‘ [“Grandmother”] moved the American girl’s heart

32-year-old Liu Jian says: Rock music and writing are his life’s loves and dreams. “During school and in the military, my guitar accompanied me and afterward I embarked on a wandering journey alone carrying my guitar and notebook computer.”

One night in July of 2005, Liu Jian sang a song called “Nai Nai” that he himself had written at a bar in Hangzhou. Below the stage, Kang Rui waved to him and the two of them got along well. Kang Rui says that after hearing “Nai Nai“, she was reminded of her grandmother. “We exchanged contact information, often text messaging each other; Afterward, I went to America to meet Kang Rui’s parents, and her parents were very satisfied; Last year her parents came to visit my home in Shangcai, and afterward the wedding was set.”

Kang Rui says the two of them obtained their marriage certificate in Zhengzhou on July 19th of last year. “On July 13th last year, it was my 30th birthday and Liu Jian gave me a very special birthday present—-He compiled the nearly 3000 text messages of over 70,000 characters [words] that I had sent him, printed them out and made an exquisite book to give to me. Liu Jian is a very thoughtful and patient person.”

Liu Jian and Rebecca Kanthor toast their marriage.

The Commitment

Hand in hand in love with each other, living a creative exceptional life

“My third full-length novel 《流浪歌手的回忆》[“Liu Lang Ge Shou Hui Yi“, memories of a wandering singer] will be published this year, and my first record “Nai Nai” is currently being recorded.” Liu Jian says: “Today, I have a kindred spirit for a wife and a warm home, walking hand in hand in life, and tomorrow I will work harder on writing and music.”

“I love Liu Jian, he is very creative and enterprising.” Beaming, Kang Rui says: “Creativity is the key to a better life tomorrow; Both Liu Jian and I pursue creativity, innovation, and the pure [natural, truth, genuine]. Walking hand in hand in love with each other in life will lead to a wonderful tomorrow.”

A large festive crowd surrounds husband Liu Jian and wife Rebecca Kanthor.

The following video on Youku has been viewed over 370k times since it was uploaded 2 days ago, receiving over 15k upvotes, and over 2000 comments spanning 69 pages:

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A lot of the information in the video is the same as in the above article but here are some extra details:

  • Liu Jian says that he felt bad that Kang Rui (Rebecca Kanthor) had suffered many hardships with him while they were dating, so he wanted to give her a nice wedding. He suggested having 20 cars for the wedding but Kanthor said that wasn’t environmentally friendly. Kanthor then asked Liu Jian’s mother how she got married and his mother said that she used to dream of getting married on a bridal sedan chair so how about arranging for Kanthor to have one for her wedding. Liu Jian’s father then suggested that they also get a horse to open the road for the bridal sedan chair.
  • After paying their respects to his parents during the wedding, Kanthor thanked Liu Jian’s mother. Kanthor explains that from the very first time they had met, Liu Jian’s mother has never made her feel like a foreigner.
  • According to the traditions of where he is from, Liu Jian’s father wrote several scrolls (that are usually hung on or stuck to doors). One side read “American girl marries China” while the other side read “Many blessings for the start of a new family”. The horizontal scroll originally read “Chinese-American friendship” but Liu Jian said to his father that they are just two ordinary people, so it was changed to “Love knows no borders”.
  • Here, Kanthor says that she loves him not because he is Chinese and he loves her not because she is American, “we just want to realize our dreams”. She really admires Liu Jian because he has accomplished by age 30 the things he had set for himself when he was 20-years-old: write three books and release a record.
  • Liu Jian says a friend of their’s, a reporter for Reuters (Carlos Barria), asked to attend their wedding to photograph it. His photos (included in this post) were shown through many media around the world and apparently on the 11th and 12th were the most viewed photos in the world.
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A local street vendor watches the colorful wedding procession.A wedding procession of drums and colorful costumes.

A "husband" chases his "wife" in a traditional wedding ceremony held in Henan.Liu Jian atop a horse in the traditional rural wedding procession.

  • Kanthor says that the first time she went to Liu Jian’s home, she didn’t think it was a very poor/run-down home. Liu Jian then describes how he had nothing in his home and that he built his bed from a discarded sofa and a desk from a discarded door he had found on the street. Kanthor was very impressed and felt Liu Jian was very “DIY” (do-it-yourself). She also says that many things in their home were originally found off the streets.
  • Kanthor says that she has never put love and material wealth together, that they are not related, that they can “struggle” [build their life] together.
  • While showing the book of text messages that Liu Jian compiled and gave her as her 30th birthday present, she reads a few of her old text messages aloud: “Are you sleeping, I want to hear your voice, can I give you a call, we don’t need to talk for very long, I miss you, I’m listening to music in a bar, but it isn’t sung by you.” She then laughs and shares some of her more recent text messages such as: “Charge the digital camera.”

Here is another video, uploaded by Sina to YouTube:

Can’t see the above video?

You can find “Kang Rui” or Rebecca Kanthor’s personal website here.

Rebecca Kanthor and Liu Jian give interviews to the media about their Chinese-American relationship and wedding.

Comments from Sina:

新浪天津市手机用户:

A foreign old cow gnawing on young Henan grass, seeing this is so disgusting. The bride is probably old enough to be the Henan boy’s mother.

新浪福建南平网友aaroneblis: (responding to above)

Not reading the news carefully and only know how to wantonly lash out. The bride had her 30th birthday last year, so she’s 31 this year. Best wishes to the two of them. As long as the bride isn’t a secret agent.

新浪广东深圳手机用户:

A secret agent planted in China.

新浪辽宁沈阳手机用户:

Pretty much what I was thinking!

新浪广东深圳网友皇龙府知青:

Don’t know what the above commenter is referring to when he says she is a secret agent. What state secrets could she uncover from a small time writer? Laughable, you are too ignorant. If I say anything more I’m afraid you wouldn’t understand.

新浪江苏南京前路灯光:

The way some of you people think is too small-minded/petty! [Do you] only allow yourselves to go to other people’s countries to settle there and make money, whereas others coming here isn’t allowed?

新浪河南郑州网友遥想当年春衫薄:

Laowai marry for love. Chinese people marry for money.

新浪北京市海淀区网友:

China’s various human scum shut your mouths! Don’t say bad things/use dirty language! Them marrying is a good thing, it should be blessed!

新浪辽宁大连网友bojingshen:

Best wishes to this new couple! Hope even more Chinese men can marry Western girls.

新浪云南红河网友梁三:

Everything natural. Some people please don’t make a fuss over nothing. Finally, may these two be together happily until their hair is white!

新浪北京市黑和:

Henan people are very niubi, good, good, Henan people are impressive. It’s just this woman isn’t that good.

新浪黑龙江哈尔滨网友cyxeco:

Not very good? Associated Press journalist!! Which female in your family is capable of getting into the Associated Press?

新浪北京网友奇偶思安:

Honey trap! Appraisal complete.

新浪上海网友jerry607:

An eastern writer and a western journalist, held a classic romantic traditional wedding. I commend it!

新浪北京市网友永失我爱迈克尔:

The bride looks like Bill Gates! [She’ll] bring wealth.

Male wedding guests.

Comments from Youku:

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小波妮:

I feel Kang Rui’s putonghua [Mandarin] is better than Liu Jian’s…

洛伊喀喀:

Love and material wealth are not related…so moving! Wish them a lifetime of happiness! That they will be together happily till a ripe old age!! 难过难过

ddgg610425:

Chinese girls listen [to this]. Love and material wealth are not related, unlike you guys and your [demands that suitors have a] house and car. Without them, are you going to die?

我莱茵河畔:

Americans have many things that are worth learning from.

将军能下马:

Best wishes! However, marrying a foreign girl will mean a lot of pressure [sexually]! 搞笑搞笑

suibianyigeba:

Girls who separate love from material things are already very rare in China.

dzlockon:

I too shall go find a laowai. 稀饭

杰伦秀红桃三:

Look at these foreign girls, they have money yet they don’t put on airs, nor do they chase after money, unlike those girls in our country who only know about money money money…! It’s not me ridiculing our countrymen here, [but] Chinese girls are really just so much worse [in comparison]!

跑跑卡丁车电2:

If I were that guy, I would feel very apologetic to/unworthy of her, that I truly am no match for her! 难过

bu是人SHI妖:

Girls in our country should learn from her! For her wedding, she didn’t ask for a house, only a bridal sedan chair!! 搞笑搞笑

Newly married Rebecca Kanthor and husband Liu Jian begin their life together walking hand in hand.

2011 March 4 UPDATE:

Hi Fauna,
I’m a regular reader of ChinaSmack, so I was so surprised to see myself and my husband on your website!
On your post about the buzz about our wedding, you have a link to my website. I wonder if you wouldn’t mind adding a link to Liu Jian’s blog, as he recently wrote a post in Chinese and English thanking everyone for their good wishes.
The link is http://blog.sina.com.cn/liujian6liujian
Thanks so much and keep up the good work!
Rock on,
Bec*

The line for horses and sedan chairs begin here. Personals @ chinaSMACK.

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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