China’s Increasing “Bride Price” Makes Marriage Virtually Impossible for Poor Bachelors

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The shortage of women caused by China’s one-child policy, combined with the country’s economic boom over the last two decades have made marriage a grim prospect for poor men in rural regions. These two factors have bumped up the “bride price” to hundreds of thousands of yuan, sometimes even millions, obscene amounts that most men can’t hope of raising without taking a bank loan.

The bride price is a a centuries-old Chinese tradition that survived and even thrived in the Communist era. It’s similar to the Western tradition of dowry, only it requires a prospective groom to pay the family of the bride for permission to marry her. In the 60’s and 70’s, the bride price was paid in modest gifts ranging from a simple thermos to bedding. During the 80’s television sets and refrigerators were popular gifts offered as bride prices, but since the economy started to grow in the 1990’s, the payment switched to hard cash and the sums demanded by the family of the bride have been rising ever since.

But perhaps the best explanation for the ever-increasing bride price is the gender inequality in China. During the days of the one-child policy, the preference for males strong enough to work and later look after their elderly parents led to a huge increase in sex-selective abortion and even infanticide of female babies. As a result, Harvard researchers claim that today there are 118 men for every 100 women in China, and the proportion is actually worse in poor rural regions.

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Chinese Students Are Forced to Take Tests Outdoors in Thick Smog

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A school principal in China’s Henan province was recently suspended for making young students take tests outdoors in smog so thick that they could barely see their papers, despite receiving orders to close the school.

On December 20th, 480 students from the No. 1 Middle School in Linqi town, Linzhou, were forced to take their tests on the school’s an outdoor football field, in heavy smog. Photos taken by concerned parents and later sent to local media outlets show the children struggling to make out the writing on their papers, but the principal apparently decided that the smog was not “severe”.

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China’s ‘Mistress Killer’ Helps Cheated Wives Deal with Adultery

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‘Mistress killer’, ‘China’s top ladies’ detective’ or ‘Terminator of extramarital affairs’ are just some of the nicknames that Zhang Yufen has earned during the 15 years she has dedicated to helping cheated wives gather evidence on their husbands’ affairs and helping them exact revenge on their mistresses.

Zhang Yufen’s war on adultery is fueled by her personal experience. During the late 90’s her husband, who worked in the district taxation bureau in the city of Xi’an, started having an affair and eventually told her that he was seeing someone else and didn’t want her anymore. He took their most valuable possessions, cleaned out their joint bank account and he was gone. The news was devastating and Zhang remembers curling up on the couch and crying for a week. But after the news finally sunk in, she decided that the only way to receive justice was to track down her husband and his mistress and gather evidence about their affair. Little did she know that she would spend the rest of her life doing the same thing for other cheated wives.

Zhang spent five long years tracking down her husband multiple times, as he moved to different locations every time he caught her snooping around. But in 2007, after gathering enough evidence about his infidelity, she was finally granted a divorce and became entitled to a payout from her former spouse. At that point, she had already made a name for herself as a detective helping other wives expose their cheating husbands and their mistresses.

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Chinese Businessman Spends $25 Million Setting Up Sanctuary for 150-Strong Wolf Pack

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A 71-year-old businessman from China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has earned the nickname “The Wolf King” after dedicating the last nine years of his life to raising 150 wolves of 8 different species, in a valley that has now come to be known as Wild Wolf Valley.

Yang Changsheng discovered his passion for wolves in 2007. He was visiting a friend when he noticed a caged female wolf with its paws tightly bound in manacles and chains. She looked miserable, so he asked his friend to open the cage so he could loosen the manacles. Some might say that getting so close to a fierce predator was a stupidly brave thing to do, but to Yang’s surprise, the wolf didn’t seem bothered or threatened by him, and as soon as the cage door opened, she just couched down at his feet like a pet dog. Impressed by the scene he had witnessed, his friend sent him the wolf and several wolf cubs born a few days earlier as a gift.

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Lonely Grandmother Seeking Stand-in “Daughter” for All-Expense Paid Vacation

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China’s incredible development over the last three decades has improved people’s quality of life, but today, loneliness and depression are the two biggest problems of the country’s rapidly aging population. This issues were recently brought to public attention by the heartbreaking plea of a 63-year-old woman looking for a young girl to accompany her on an all-expense paid vacation.

“I live alone in Zhengzhou… I’d like a warm-hearted girl between the ages of 19 and 24 years old to go with me to chat with and take photos,” Li Yanling wrote in a heartfelt post on WeChat. “I’d like to see the sea in Sanya this winter, but just fear the loneliness of traveling solo.” The recruitment ad also specified that the person would not have to pay for anything during the vacation, and would even receive a brand new iPhone 7, as a bonus.

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Young Entrepreneur Undergoes Plastic Surgery to Look Like Chinese Billionaire Jack Ma

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Jack Ma, founder of internet giant Alibaba Group, has one of the most recognized faces in China, but he’s not exactly famous for his good looks. Still, that hasn’t stopped on young entrepreneur from spending a small fortune on plastic surgery just so he could look more like the popular billionaire.

Huang Jian, a young man in Shenzhen, claims that he has so far spent around one million yuan ($145,000) on facial plastic surgery, in an effort to make himself look more like Jack Ma. The procedures were done in South Korea, Asia’s premier destination for extreme plastic surgery. Jian says that he is a big fan of China’s second richest man and is undergoing this extreme makeover in the hopes of one day meeting his idol.

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Chinese City Opens Awesome Five-Star Public Toilet

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People generally avoid going into public toilets, unless they absolutely have to. Most of them are dirty, uninviting places, but that’s definitely not the case with this recently opened five-star public restroom in Chongqing, China.

Public toilets are hardly-ever news-worthy topics, but after seeing photos of this new five-star facility in the Bishan district of Chongqing, I decided it was too cool not to share. The 150-square-meter restroom not only features an elegant interior design and quality materials like marble floors, granite imitation walls, lacquered wood doors and urinal separators, and even chandeliers, but also a central heating system and 24-hour air-conditioning that keep the place at a constant 26 degrees Celsius all year round.

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City Comes Together to Buy 32 Tonnes of Potatoes in One Day to Help Farmer in Need

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In what can only be described as a touching display of kindness, the residents of a neighborhood near Shenzhen, in southern China, came together to help a total stranger sell 32 tonnes of potatoes in a single day, after he was rejected by a local wholesale market.

60-year-old Ma, a potato farmer from Qinghai Province, in northwest China, had been duped by a businessman to bring all his stock to Shenzhen and sell it at a higher price. Enticed by the prospect of a earning a higher profit for a year’s work, he paid 16,000 Yuan ($2,312) in transportation fees and traveled 2500 miles across China, a journey that took four days and four nights. But upon reaching his destination, on November 5th, Ma had his hopes shattered by the wholesaler who had promised to take his entire potato harvest off his hands, after he backed off on the deal, claiming that the potatoes were too small.

Left without a buyer, Ma had no choice but unload all 32 tonnes of potatoes on the side of the road near an industrial park in Guanlan, and try to sell some of it to passers-by. Going back home with nothing to show for his trip than the expenses incurred was not an option. But his idea wasn’t working as well as he had hoped either. “Some of his friends from Qinghai helped him contact people to buy the potatoes, but it hasn’t helped much as he has so many potatoes,” the owner of a nearby grocery store told Shenzhen Daily. But just when he was ready to give up and go home, a miracle happened.

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Chinese Farmer Invents Kidney Stone-Removing Bed for His Wife

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Seeing his wife go through the excruciatingly painful process of passing kidney stones, a farmer in Jiangxi Province, China, created an ingenious bed that flips over and vibrates to help dislodge the stones.

Zhu Qinghua, a 52-year-old rice farmer from Jiangxi had been thinking of ways of helping his wife since 1993, when she had her left kidney removed because of kidney failure, and stones were discovered in her right one. Doctors told them that surgery to remove the stones was too dangerous for a person with one kidney, so she was advised to eliminate them naturally before they became too large. Zhu says inspiration struck in 1997, when doctors advised his wife to stand upside down for a few minutes every day, to help dislodge the kidney stones. That’s when he started working on his patented kidney stone-removing bed.

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Chinese Drivers Try to Deter Nighttime High-Beam Use with Scary Decals

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Sick of getting temporarily blinded by drivers using their high-beam headlights at night, more and more Chinese are equipping the rear windows of their cars with scary reflective decals featuring ghosts, vampires or monsters.

Dozens of shops on large e-commerce sites like Taobao are selling scary rear-window decals with graphics ranging from ghostly figures and women with bloody mouths to vampires and yellow-eyed werewolves, and judging by the number of photos currently doing the rounds on Chinese social media, people are actually using them to deter drivers from keeping their high beam headlights on when driving behind them. The bizarre stickers are apparently barely visible in the dark or normal lighting conditions, but light up when a bright light is shone on them.

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Chinese Zoo Puts Husky Dog in Wolf Pen

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A zoo in Dezhou City, east China’s Shandong Province, recently attracted criticism for placing a husky dog in a pen populated by a dozen wolves, as a way to create more fun for tourists.

Chinese animal lovers raised the alarm about the unusual member of the wolf pack after a video shot by a tourist at Dezhou zoo went viral on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. He explained that he happened to be visiting the zoo when he saw a strange-looking wolf limping around in a pen full of actual wolves. It didn’t take him long to figure out that the animal was some kind of Husky-Alaskan-mix canine.

“As we all know, wolves like living with each other and have a strong sense of territory,” the man, surnamed Huang, wrote in the post. “Don’t you think it would be miserable for the dog to live there?” He also mentioned that the dog was obviously wounded, as it was struggling to walk on just three legs. His video attracted a lot of attention, with the vast majority of commenters accusing the zoo for acting irresponsibly.

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Chinese Company Forces Employees to Eat Live Worms for Not Meeting Sales Target

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Chinese companies have been known to subject their employees to some of the most unusual and degrading punishments imaginable, but this latest one takes the cake. According to recent new reports, a company Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, decided to punish who failed to meet their sales targets by feeding them a disgusting cocktail of baijou liquor and live mealworms.

The degrading punishment was reportedly carried out in in a plaza in downtown Hanzhong, where 60 company employees were summoned for an outdoor meeting. Witnesses took to the internet to report that the group of young workers was approached by a a man carrying bags of live mealworms, who proceeded to pick various numbers of them with chopsticks and drop them in plastic cups full of baijou. Employees who had failed to reach their sales quota were asked to step forward and drink the gag-inducing cocktail.

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Ejiao – The Chinese Miracle Cure Decimating the World’s Donkey Population

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Ejiao, or donkey skin gelatin, is considered one of the three treasures of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to treat a wide range of ailments from simple colds to insomnia and impotence, and demand in the Chinese market is soaring like never before. Millions of donkeys are slaughtered all around the world and their hides transported to China to be melted into the miracle gelatin that many believe will keep them looking youthful and even prolong their life.

Dong’e county, in northern China, is the epicenter of ejiao production. Here, over 100 factories melt thousands of donkey hides into gelatin, every week, and after running out of domestic stock, they are now relying on imports from developing countries to sustain the huge demand. China’s donkey population has dwindled from 11 million during the 1990s to just 6 million today, due to both industrialization and massive slaughtering for ejiao. With local stock of donkeys going dry at an alarming rate, some factories have opened their own farms to breed and kill up to 10,000 donkeys a year, but with some of them processing over 1 million donkey hides in the same period, it’s hardly a sustainable plan. Which is why many factories have turned their attention to the foreign market.

Various countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East are supplying millions of donkey skins for the Chinese ejiao market. With the price for donkeys having skyrocketed from around $65 a decade ago to $315 today, some livestock breeders are switching to donkeys exclusively, because the trade is so profitable. But some governments have already banned China from buying their donkeys because they realized that it would eventually decimate the animal population. In September, Nigeria announced a ban on the export of donkeys in September, after the trade increased three times in one year, mainly to Asian markets. “If the export continues the animals will be decimated,” Atte Issa, a Nigerian government official told the BBC.

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Company Delays Employees’ Monthly Salary So They Wouldn’t Spend It on Junk on Chinese Black Friday

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This year’s Singles Day, China’s version of Black Friday, is scheduled to break sales records, but the employees of one catering company in Chonqing will not be able to spend as much money on discounted items as they would have liked, because their employer decided to hold their paychecks until after the holiday, so they wouldn’t spend their hard earned money on junk.

Workers recently found out about management’s controversial decision through a notice posted at the main entrance of the company. The document mentioned that instead of receiving their paychecks on November 10th, as usual, they would have to wait until next month, but only because their 31-year-old boss was worried that they would waste their salaries on junk they didn’t even need. He let them know that he himself had spent almost 20,000 yuan ($2,942) during last year’s sale, which included a 8,000 yuan ($1,176) computer he never even uses. So to keep them form making the same mistake, he decided that their money’s safer with him.

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Desperate Young Woman Sells Herself Online to Help Cancer-Stricken Mother

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In a desperate attempt to raise money for her sick mother’s cancer treatment, a 19-year-old girl in China recently posted a message on the Asian country’s most popular social media platform, WeChat, saying that she was selling herself to the highest bidder.

In her post, Cao Mengyuan says she was born and raised in a rural home in Gaozhou city, southern China. Her 45-year-old mother, who had worked as a farmer all her life, was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and her health was deteriorating very fast. Doctors told the young girl that the treatment for her mother’s illness would cost about 350,000 Yuan ($51,500) which the family could not afford to pay. And since the woman doesn’t have medical insurance either, the 19-year-old decided that, as the eldest of five children in her family, it was up to her to somehow come up with the money, by any means necessary. So she decided to sell herself online.

“I wish that a kind-hearted person could buy me, so my mother can undergo the operation,” the post states. “After the transaction, I am willing to work at the will of the buyer in return. I will do whatever the buyer asked me to do. I never go back on my word. Everything I said is true. I will sell myself to the highest bidder.”

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