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Chinese woman dragged away from home by family in bride price dispute

This article is more than 12 months old

A woman in China was violently dragged away by her family from a home she shared with her boyfriend as the man apparently could not afford a 500,000 yuan (S$106,000) “bride price”.

According to the South China Morning Post, the boyfriend, surnamed Zhang, posted a video of the incident on Bilibili, a Chinese video-sharing platform. 

He said his girlfriend, Gao, was physically removed from their new home after her parents opposed the marriage because he could not afford the bride price .

In the video, Gao is seen being pulled out of her house in Yinchuan, in Ningxia autonomous region in north-west China. At one moment, she is dragged along the ground when she falls. Zhang tries to stop Gao’s family as they force her into a car, only to get pushed to the ground.

Zhang said in the post: “We have been together for six years and, with our joint efforts, we now own property. We are planning to start a family. Our property is under her name to ease concerns from her mother, but the marriage has still been met with strong opposition.

“They said they would only agree if I paid a 500,000 yuan bride price, even if we have to sell our home to do this.”

Zhang said he called the police after the confrontation. 

In a statement issued on Sunday (Feb 13), the public security bureau of Yinchuan’s Xixia district said Gao and her family have agreed to talk through the disagreement. The officers have warned Gao’s parents against restricting her freedom of movement.

The woman, surnamed Gao, has asked netizens to stop cyberbullying her family.

Public outcry and cyberbullying

The video triggered a public outcry from people who said there was too much parental interference in marriages in China.

Netizens directed a torrent of outrage and abuse towards Gao’s parents, with many saying they were using their daughter as a commodity for sale. 

One commenter wrote on Weibo: “This is not what parents can do, but human traffickers”.

But Gao has urged netizens to stop cyberbullying her family.

She said the story told by Zhang omitted key information, such as that the 500,000 yuan bride price request was made in a moment of anger and the family never intended on collecting the money.

Gao said her parents were upset because she had only told them about Zhang six months ago, even though they had been together for six years.

“After I cooled off at home, I found that public opinion has gotten out of control, and I hope people can analyse the situation rationally and stop cyberbullying us,” she said.

Reports about young women, and even minors, being forced into marriage for the bride price have made headlines in the past year, including a 14-year-old teenager in Ningxia who called the police on her own wedding to break up a forced marriage.

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