Planet China

The brides of Baghdad

Last March the People’s Daily reported that a group of women from Vietnam had married men from the same village in Fujian province. Shortly after the nuptials the brides ran off (see WiC217 for more on the trend of Chinese men marrying Vietnamese women). Single men from China are now travelling farther afield to seek out their spouses. A package tour to Iraq was even being sold this month on the online travel site Ctrip. Instead of featuring the local tourist attractions, one of the pictures to promote the six-day tour (priced at Rmb8,999 per person) shows a Chinese man and an Iraqi woman, who is holding a newborn child. “The woman in the picture, who married in China, recently had a child. Unlike Vietnamese women, Iraqi women are not going to run away. They are fiercely loyal. It also doesn’t take much to bring a wife from Iraq home, only $1,000 in matchmaking fees,” the ad boasted. In fact, Iraqi women “are so happy to come to China, they will do anything you ask them to do,” it added. When media contacted the travel agent in question, he said that the tour was sold out and he’d already sent 12 to Iraq.

Needless to say, news about the tour soon generated controversy, with netizens accusing Ctrip of helping to promote a mail-order bride service. In response, the travel site denied having anything to do with the matchmaking tour and pointed out that it was merely acting as a third-party booking platform for the travel agent. The Ministry of Public Security, meanwhile, says it will look into the matter to make sure no kidnapping is involved…

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