Increasingly Difficult for Rural Chinese Men to Find Wives


From NetEase:

Graduate Student Returns to Hometown and Complains that Finding a Wife is Difficult: Betrothal Gifts Start at 100k, Demanding A Car, A House, and No Brothers

[Yangtze River Daily] report — “Betrothal gifts already start at 100,000 yuan [RMB, ~16,400 USD], must have a house, a car, no brothers, and parents who are alive and healthy.” Recently, a Huazhong University of Science and Technology post-graduate student posted on a BBS an article titled “A Bachelor Dog’s Return to His Hometown”, lamenting the increasing difficulty of finding a wife, resonating with many students.

Li Zhao (pseudonym) is a student of Land Management at this school. With the start of school, the Political Theory course teacher assigned them to write about their visit home, and he used this opportunity to share his innermost thoughts, “These things are those that I have long wanted to say.”

Compared to three years ago, the most obvious change in Li Zhao’s hometown was the increasing difficulty of finding a wife. There are less girls in the rural countryside now, and their requirements have become much higher. Betrothal gifts now start at 100k yuan, and the structure of one’s family is also considered, desiring those without brothers and parents who are still alive and healthy (to help take care of a child/baby), and having an older sister would be even better, as she would be able to take care of the elderly [parents]. “Of the over 20 households in the village, there are over ten with boys of marriageable age without wives, nor are there anyone engaged in matchmaking, because there simply aren’t any young women to be matched with! When [the people] didn’t have any sons, they did everything they could to have them, and once they had sons, they worked hard for their sons, saving money for decades, only to discover that the disparity is getting larger and larger.”

Li Zhao analyzed that this is because of reasons such as agricultural tax reforms in recent years and widespread increases in income from those leaving their hometown to work, but also influenced by competitiveness between the people. He laments that with rapid urbanization, the plight of university students from the countryside is “the most awkward”. The devaluation of educational attainment and the powerlessness of knowledge oppress these class of people. Entering the cities, they have no foundation, but they also can’t return, so what awaits them is a long-term struggle in a city far away from home. The girls in the cities look down upon those from the countryside, so rural men have no choice but to face reality.

“Either make do or wait five to ten years until one has a foundation before thinking about marriage. As for me, my parents cannot wait, and hope that I can marry upon graduation. Therefore, I will have to settle for good enough.” Li Zhao has 37 classmates in his class, with rural students being the majority, and many among them have the same problem. In the two days since this post was posted, there have already been nearly a hundred comments. Quite a few students express “deeply sharing the same sentiment”, with there even being one rural student revealing that the betrothal gifts in his hometown already average 200k yuan, and [single] girls are still becoming less and less.

Comments from NetEase:

老鼠药专卖店 [网易湖南省长沙市网友]:

Now you know how hard it is to find a wife. Just how many rural families became got an abortion when they became pregnant with a daughter? Now your sons have grown up. Don’t blame the girl’s family for having high betrothal gift expectations either. It’s not as if their daughters were raised without cost.

蒸锅梦 [网易辽宁省葫芦岛市网友]:

At first I could not accept those who have kissed before. Then it was as long as they were virgins. Now it is if they haven’t had an abortion. In the future, it’ll be those who are getting remarried. After that, it will be as long as they are alive. Beyond that, I dare not imagine…

执着火狐狸 [网易山东省网友]:

What can you do? All the rural girls have crowded into the cities to be leftover women or >mistresses.

何立言 [网易浙江省杭州市网友]: (responding to above)

China’s rural newborn sex-ratio is close to 123, meaning for every 100 females, there are 123 males, whereas the normal newborn sex-ratio is between 103 to 107. This statistic makes it clear that there are 38 million men who cannot find wives.

泼你一脸墨水 [脑洞初开]:

What’s scary isn’t this. What’s most scary is worrying that one’s child is not one’s own. Good luck to you all!

普天下的人民都爱你 [网易广西贵港市网友]:

Brother, it’s just 100k. Brother [referring to self] deals in 100 millions every time!

送子和尚 [网易河南省郑州市网友]:

100k yuan for a wife to use for a lifetime, or 100 yuan for a woman to use for awhile.
Which is more cost-efficient?

网易浙江省杭州市手机网友 ip:211.140.*.*

Back then they aborted if it was a girl, now their sons can’t find wives, and complain that betrothal gift amounts are high. It’s all karma/retribution, serves them right that they can’t find wives.

304953947 [网易云南省昆明市网友]:

Is it marrying wives or buying wives?

紧嫩夹抽x [网易陕西省西安市网友]:

I’m particularly worried about the various vast but sparsely populated northwestern provinces, with the popularization and penetration of online commerce and logistics into rural villages and towns. Online businesses mostly based in Zhejiang, Guangdong, and Jiangsu will suck dry what was already limited consumption ability in the rural countryside, leading to the already fragile commerce and industry in these rural parts quickly collapsing and dying out, causing large numbers of people becoming unemployed, directly leading to the devaluation of real estate, and then affecting new urbanization. I hope the government will enact legislation to prohibit Taobao express deliveries from entering the Gansu, Qinghai, and Ningxia provinces, and only allow local express deliveries to go out [of those provinces].

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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