How China's Gender Gap Is Creating Too Many Single Men--And Hurting Women

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[Editor's note: China's gender imbalance, which stands at 120 males born for every 100 females, is fueling a growing trend of eternal bachelorhood in China. But experts predict that as the disparity grows, it will have an even more dire impact on women. Deborah Jian Lee and Sushma Subramanian spent a month in China reporting on the crisis, and their fascinating story in Good is a must-read.--Mona]

They write:

One of eight children, Du An Lan grew up in an impoverished village in the rural county of Haixing, Vietnam. At 19, when a businessman promised her a lucrative job in China, she leapt at the opportunity and boarded a boat to her new home. But when she arrived, she discovered he had trafficked her as a bride. The businessman disposed of her Vietnamese-style clothing and dressed her in a new pant and shirt set with a traditional Chinese collar. As a ferry carried her from the mainland to Hainan, she looked at the expanse of the emerald-green sea and contemplated jumping.

On the other end, a leathery-faced teacher 40 years her senior, purchased Du for 5,000 renminbi, a little more than $780 today. “We’ll live together,” Du remembers him saying; she understood his words though she didn’t yet know his language.
“If you get pregnant, we will treat each other as husband and wife. If we don’t have a child, you can live with me as my daughter.” She cried for days.

role models

Credit Image: © Deborah Lee and Sushma Subrumanian/

Reporting for this article was funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Read more from How China's Gender Gap Is Creating Too Many Single Men--And Hurting Women at Good


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