Forced Marriage In China

Amal Eldesouky, Reporter

Throughout history, China has always been one of the largest countries based on its population. Due to its population, people were forced to adapt to the one-child policy to avoid an increase in the country’s already huge population. Adopting the one-child policy created multiple problems, which did not only have long negative impacts on China, but to China’s neighboring countries as well. Due to the traditional preference for sons in China, and the advanced technology that helped the Chinese to determine the sex of the child before birth, many people decided to have abortions if the baby was determined to be a girl. This led to the termination of millions of pregnancies of possible girls. The result is having 37 million fewer women than men in China, a gap that is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Poland. Having such imbalance rippled across Chinese society, since many young men who were at their marriage-age could not find brides to marry due to the lack of girls in China. This resulted in the urge for “bride buying” from other countries in which women were forced to marry Chinese men even if they did not want to. Many women were trafficked into China from different countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, Vietnam, and Pakistan. The families of these women had no other choice but to sell their daughters to seek $3,000 U.S. dollars. Women were sold only for sex purposes in which they were forced to stay with one man only for three years to deliver a child. Once that happened, they were sold again to another man for the same purpose. The act of “bride buying” violates women’s rights since the women were being forced to do something that they did not want to do.

Phyu was a victim of bride buying. According to The New York Times Magazine, Upfront, in 2018, sixteen years old Phyu grew up in a tiny ramshackle village in the nation of Myanmar. She got an offer for a waitress job if she was willing to travel for it. Eager for a better life, she got into a van that made its way across the border to China. After 10 days of traveling, she realized that she was not going to a job in a restaurant, but something terrifying was waiting for her. She realized that she was being sold to Chinese men who were desperate for wives. She tried to run away, but she did not know where to go. The traffickers caught her and locked her in a room where Chinese men were brought to see her. She was forced to look pretty for her potential husband. 

Phyu was one of thousands of women and girls who have been either tricked in some way to go to China, or sold to be forced into marriage. However, not only did the one child policy create this huge problem, but it was also the reason for rising crime rates in areas with high percentages of unmarried men and a shrinking workforce. Overall, the one child policy attaempt to fix one problem, but it created personal disaster for others.