Planet China

Father and the bride

In the comedy The Proposal, Sandra Bullock plays a Canadian who needs to find a way to keep her US work visa. She does so by marrying her assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds). But recently a woman in Chengdu took more extreme measures to achieve her goals. Looking for a way to obtain a local hukou in Chengdu for her ailing father, Lin Li decided that the best option was to marry him. As WiC has reported in the past, a hukou is China’s much-loathed household registration system. A migrant worker who doesn’t have one doesn’t get the same social benefits (including city medical insurance). So marriage with locals is an easy way for migrants to obtain a hukou. But alas, even after the two were married, Lin father’s application for a new permit was rejected (for unspecified reasons). The daughter then divorced him. How could a marriage between blood relatives have even happened? Precise details were scarce but the Chengdu Evening Post blamed bureaucratic oversight: local civil affairs offices only require the parties to sign a declaration that they are not related and do not conduct individual checks to verify it. Another more popular theory is that Lin might have bribed the bureaucrat officiating the wedding…


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