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Runaway Brides in China Taking Their Bride Price With Them

With a surplus of bachelors in China thanks to the one-child policy and cultural preference for boys, the country is starting to see more runaway brides — who run away with the bride price their grooms-to-be saved up for the bride’s family.

“Cai li,” the set amount the groom’s family pays the bride’s family, used to be a small sum in the '80s. But since the country has become more prosperous and prospective brides more scarce, the sums have risen to sometimes several years’ worth of a farming family’s income.

Officials speculate that although the runaway bride phenomenon isn’t exactly yet an epidemic, they’re concerned that when the runaways happen in clusters, organized crime rings may be behind the scams.

The British Journal of Medicine estimates that in a recent census, there was a surplus of 32 million males under the age of 20.


Join The Conversation
Sumhope Sumhope 8 years
good point mermei!
mermei mermei 8 years
I'm not remotely worried about China using all the men to build a bigger army. First of all, the PLA has more volunteers than it knows what to do with. Second, the major military objective is Taiwan, and invading would not only be more a matter of technology than numbers, but an impressively stupid idea given the nature of economic ties and the positive recent cooperation with the KMT government. I think the most likely outlet for the surplus of men is going to be one of the major historical outlets for China's population surplus: emigration.
Sumhope Sumhope 8 years
hi again bekkachan :D I never thought about the surplus = army. Scary thought indeed.
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 8 years
32 million males under age 20? Surplus? With who knows how many surplus between 20 and 40? That sounds like an immense army in waiting, to me, and all they would have to do is draft the single guys to get one. Won't have to worry about crying widows wanting the end of a war because there wouldn't BE any. Kinda scares me, actually. This could also be my paranoia talking. <_< >_> But yeah, if I was a Chinese girl in this situation, I would milk this for all it was worth. Chinese girls worth less in their culture? Pffft. Let's see how long that lasts!
Sumhope Sumhope 8 years
Its ironic to me (in a really sad, what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-the-world kind of way) that girls who used to be so unwanted are now so sought after. I can see the chinese women using this to their advantage tho.
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