It's no secret that China's infamous "one-child policy", which favored the male child-births through the humanitarian procedure of infanticide, resulted in a male-female ratio worse than a RPG gamer convention. Unsurprising to any dude who has ever been immersed in a mostly male profession, lovelorn guys are getting easily ripped off by con-artist ladies. Dowries paid by rural gents in China to the brides family are turning out be a worse investment than GM stock. WSJ reports:
He proposed marriage. She agreed, with one proviso: cai li of 38,000 yuan, or roughly five years' worth of farm income. The Zhous agreed, but took the precaution of running a quick background check. Tang Yunshou, Xin'an's Communist Party secretary, said Ms. Cai's identity and residential papers checked.If you can't trust the Xin'an Communist Secretary to run a simple background check on your fiancee, who can you trust?!?
Three days later the couple registered their union at the local registrar's office. They posed for studio shots, with the bride in a creamy satin gown, the groom in a tuxedo. In one shot, they wear traditional garb, the bride pretending to light a string of firecrackers. Mr. Zhou mugs a grimace, hands to his ears.
They held the wedding banquet a week later, on Jan. 4, where Mr Zhou's mother formally handed over the dowry -- half of it loans from family members -- to a woman she believed to be Ms. Cai's cousin.
The new bride took up residence with her in-laws, and quickly found favor with her diligent and respectful ways, said Mrs. Zhou. "I treated her better than my own daughter," she said. A red electric scooter, with ribbons on the handles, sits in the living room, a wedding present for Ms. Cai.
Matrimony was catching. Two neighbors sought Ms. Cai out, and asked her to act as matchmaker for their sons. Ms. Cai recommended two girls within a few days. The neighbors each paid 40,000 yuan in cai li.
On Jan. 28, all these brides vanished, leaving the villagers reeling.
I'd suggest to Mr. Zhou to come to Bangkok's seedier areas, where you see hundreds of bored women sitting around waiting for foreign men to spend money on them (yes, the recession seems to have really hit everybody). But that would imply that people actually had the money to travel in our new world-wide, economic malaise.