CHINA BECKONS BRIDES IN MILLIONS
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Once upon a time China had no shortage of girls and did not have to import brides as is being done in the twenty first century. In the heyday of Imperial China the Emperor had many women consorts besides the real queen consort and numerous concubines. The ministers, court officials, generals and colonels followed suit. The Imperial Palace Guards inside the Forbidden City, where no commoners and foreigners were permitted as the Emperor and the Royal courtiers resided and had fun and frolic, kept a strict watch on footfalls in the Imperial Zone. The Imperial Guards therein and court officials privy to Imperial way of life comprised eunuchs or women so that there were no sexual escapades behind the royal back. If there was an aberration and a male member managed to smuggle himself in, he was awarded most severe punishment and his male organ was severed from the body mercilessly.
Thus the chastity of royal princesses was maintained and no one even touched the Empress with a whiff of air except the Emperor himself. That system was in vogue long long ago. With the advent of the Communist rule on 1st October 1949 every place was thrown open to commoners and nothing was forbidden. The Forbidden City was shown to tourists by trained guides.
As the population of China grew by leaps and bounds, the Communist Party that ran the administration of the country introduced One Child Family. China being male oriented in its thinking every couple wished to have a male child and the female fetus was aborted surreptitiously. The fall in female population was a natural corollary. In many urban and semi-urban areas there were 33 million more men than women. The desire to get married was always there and the prospective groom had to convince the local official that he possessed the wherewithal to support a wife and a child besides giving them gifts on social and religious festivals.
The gender disparity grew day by day and there came a stage when there was no choice but to import foreign brides who could gel with the Chinese people. The touts, brokers and low level men jumped into the arena to make a quick buck at the cost of forlorn bachelors on mainland China who were ever keen to accept a nubile girl with mongoloid features as a lawfully wedded wife. They paid money to dishonest brokers who imported young girls from Vietnam, Korea and other remote islands where families were perpetually short of cash.
In a village in the mountainous terrain of the North-West China, as many as 100 foreign girls found marital homes to satisfy the sexual desire of the local bachelors. In the bargain it was the broker who made money and went laughing to the bank.
Lo and behold! As many as 100 girls of foreign origin just disappeared from the marital homes one fine morning before daybreak. When husbands woke up after a good exercise in bed with their partners, they found no comfort in female company as the females were missing. The broker who had given a money-back guarantee in case of dissatisfaction with the imported wife, disappeared too. The local rural police expressed its helplessness in tracing foreign girls as by then they had crossed borders to find refuge in their native land.
The so called mail-order wives have caused frustration among the Chinese youth leading to a series of law and order problem in distant corners of the country. In some cases complaints were recorded but remained uninvestigated for lack of evidence. Indeed most of the cases of bride disappearance went unreported and unrecorded. The poor man’s hard earned money went down the drain. The little comfort that he had derived in the arms of a foreign wife was too short and too little. The bride money paid by him to the broker was his life’s saving. In the bargain, the episodes of this nature all over China have left a headache for the central authority in Beijing to find a permanent solution to this perennial problem.
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