Planet China

Spousal support

Over the last eight years this column has highlighted more than 350 weird-but-true tales from China. This week’s story is one of the strangest: a wedding groom who hired more than 200 actors to play family and friends at his nuptials. reports that a 20 year-old man surnamed Wang paid the extras to attend his wedding in Xi’an, only to become unstuck when his bride repeatedly asked why his parents were not in attendance. She got more suspicious as the bogus proceedings went on and eventually called the police (again, an odd thing to do on your wedding day). Wang’s deceit was soon uncovered by the cops and as the story went viral netizens speculated about the motive – was he already married or a fugitive, perhaps?

Police later discovered that Wang was an unemployed vagrant who had borrowed Rmb1.1 million ($159,340) from his girlfriend’s mother. For fear of being asked to repay he proposed marriage, and then got her parents to give him more cash for the event (some of it was used to hire the 200 actors). Wang has since admitted that in the three years that he and his bride had been dating he’d hired other actors to pretend to be his relatives too. He was subsequently held by the police on suspicion of fraud, although notes that since the case came to light his real parents have emerged and offered to pay off his debt. Wang, for his part, has come up with the weird excuse that he hired the actors because his parents did not know about his girlfriend or his marriage proposal.

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