Chinese men head to Vietnam for the 'perfect wife'
The news that China will be home to 24 million excess bachelors in 2020 has caused not a little panic among the country's young men.
And, as often happens in times of crisis, word of a miraculous remedy, a marital cure-all, a panacea for China's anxious singletons, has spread like a digitally fueled wildfire of lust and longing.
Out of China's male marital angst has been born the legend of the perfect wife, who exists in a land not far away for a price not too steep.
For RMB 35,000 you, too, can be the proud man standing beside a young, pretty and obedient wife, and all within three months.
This promised land is Vietnam and its 'legend' has been the hot topic on almost every major Chinese website and online forum.
The story has even inspired some adventurous Chinese men to make the move to their neighboring country, so convinced are they that their nuptial hankerings will be sated there.
So why Vietnam, and is the 'legend' true?
The story starts with established facts. China currently has 18 million more unmarried men than women. An online survey called “Are you worried about finding a partner?” carried out on QQ.com reveals that 7,817 people out of 18,800 (42 percent) are worried that they might not be able to get married. Clearly marriage is on people's minds.
Temptations from Vietnam
Then, rumors that already exist in cyberspace are regurgitated and revamped, to give Chinese men the mistaken impression that Vietnam is in a constant state of upheaval, and that its male to female sex ratio is three to five.
Online articles describe it as a land of poverty whose beautiful girls long for a life in China. What's more, marriage agency advertisements magnify Chinese bachelors' desires for a Vietnamese wife. They guarantee the girl will be a virgin, will marry you within three months, and if your bride runs away, they also guarantee a replacement.
Rumors on cyberspace give Chinese men the mistaken impression that Vietnam is in a constant state of upheaval, and that its male and female sex ratio is three to five. It's a land of poverty and beautiful girls who long for a life in China.
These details are expounded on by online reports.
An article posted on Xici Hutong describes how Vietnamese girls look to marry abroad to escape the poverty.
“On my trip to Vietnam, our local guide, a 26-year-old Vietnamese girl, told me it was her dream to marry a Chinese man,” says one man in the article. “In northern Vietnam, men can have several wives.
"Women have very low position in their families. All the beautiful girls just work very hard in the fields and grow old. So they really want to marry to China."
The article also boasts how Vietnam caters to Chinese tourism. “Vietnamese people know Chairman Mao liked braised pork, so all the big restaurants in Vietnam serve braised pork.”
Netizen Hai Dao from Dalian comments, “As a seaman I've been to Vietnam many times. It is so poor. Vietnamese women want to marry Chinese men just like Chinese women want to marry Americans. When I was there in 2000, it only cost RMB 500 to marry a Vietnamese woman.”
What Chinese girls are not
Finally, online posters convince themselves that these basic conditions breed women who are traditional, low maintenance and quietly charming.
Da Hui Lang from Quanzhou says the “gentle and obedient” nature of Vietnamese girls is appealing. “That's much better than Chinese girls who want only money.”
Money and financial issues are a key concern for 20- and 30-somethings looking to marry in China today, especially in Shanghai.
Netizen Shen Me Nian Dai also thinks that Chinese girls are too hard to marry.
“Chinese girls have such requirements for men, and they no longer value being hard working and kind," he says. "So men have to go to Vietnam to find women with these qualities.”
Put all this together, and the legend of the perfect Vietnamese wife has not only been born, it is being nurtured.
This is only one part of the story, and focuses on the online growth of this 'legend' of finding a partner across the border. The other part is the actual experience of the Vietnamese women -- which can range from marital bliss to the complete opposite, including being victims of traffiking scams, matchmaking shams, mistreatment and even violence.
For a follow up on this story please see CNNGo's Do Vietnamese women really long to marry Chinese men?