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China's 'fake-marriage market' a growing trend

In China, gays and lesbians struggle to blend in with tradition.

By Kristin Wong Feb 7, 2013 11:01PM

In a culture where tradition is everything, same-sex relationships aren't exactly endorsed. In fact, in China, gay relationships on TV or in movies are often censored.

Thus, China's 'fake-marriage market' is a gathering in which gays and lesbians meet to organize heterosexual marriages.

Sham marriages are a growing issue in China. The country's gay population often find themselves coerced into traditional, opposite-sex marriages; Bloomberg reports that 16 million Chinese women are married to gay men. The country even has a title for these women: tongqi.

Photo: China's fake marriage market growing / @mr.jerry/Getty ImagesMore on MSN Living8 signs you're too bossy in bed

Many of these wives have no previous knowledge of their husband's homosexuality and only realize their orientation after discovering pornography or extramarital affairs. Naturally, this often becomes a legal issue. In one example from a Chinese news outlet, a wife who realizes she's a fake seeks to receive compensatory damages after her divorce.

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A Qiang is a gay blogger who often writes about these fake marriages. He described the mindset behind the issue:

“Some homosexuals cannot face social prejudice and discrimination, so they hide their sexual orientation with a heterosexual marriage rather than be discriminated against; Chinese traditional culture emphasizes children and the continuation of the family line, and heterosexual marriage is a convenient way to get children; there is an inadequate, comprehensive social safety net, so some homosexuals enter heterosexual marriage for the sense of security."

Hence the birth of the "fake marriage market." Slate.com reporter Nicola Davison recently visited one of these gatherings in Shangai, where she quoted a man referenced as "No. 11:"

"I'm here to find a lesbian, to be with me and to build a home. In my view, a 30-year-old man should start thinking about having a family, but two men can't hold each other's hands in the street. We're not allowed to be a family."

Not all of these heterosexual marriages are intentionally fake, however. Qiang also points out that "many people do not understand their own sexuality at the time of marriage."

Bing: Donald Trump speaks out against gay marriage.

More from The Heart Beat:

Cohabitating couples get married for the kids
Study: BMW drivers more likely to cheat
Men no longer willing to pay for first date

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Photo: @mr.jerry/Getty Images
43Comments
Feb 19, 2013 9:29AM
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There is one major underlying social factor in China that poses a direct threat to that's country's ability to survive as a country, a culture, and a race:  the lack of available females for the male population.  I consider gay guys masquerading as straight guys to be gasoline on a fire that is already burning; it's not the root cause of the problem.

 

That root cause is the Hukuo caste system and how it relates to the one-child policy.  Under Hukuo, your rights and privileges in Chinese society are determined by your birthplace.  If you are born in a city, you and any children you produce are entitled to free education and health care.  If you are born in the countryside, you are entitled to pay the whole nut out of your own pocket.  And your caste migrates with you.  If you move from the country to the city, not only are you paying the whole nut out of your own pocket, you are restricted to schools and medical facilities for rural migrants only, almost all of which are unlicensed and substandard.

 

The one-child policy and mass migration to cities has resulted in millions of young men going from the country to the city to find economic and female opportunities, only to find neither.  They were brought into this world to carry on the family name and there are simply no females available to them.  Numbers tell part of the story.  Males age 20 and under outnumber females of the same age by 32 million.  There are also similar imbalances for males 21 to 30 and 31 to 40.  City girls know the rules under Hukuo, and this is why they want no part of country boys.  Look no further than the increasing numbers of Chinese women choosing not to get married; the fastest growing segment here is ages 25 and up.

 

China has a huge social problem which will necessitate China going to war within the next five to ten years. All these extra young males with no economic or female prospects need to be put to use somehow.  And that somehow, where the can obtain economic opportunity and females, is war.  The other option is for China to be, by 2030, a country of middle aged and old men who have produced no children to ultimately take their places in the workforce.  China is facing a fight or die scenario as a country, culture, and race in slow motion.  There is also no more powerful motivator in war than the drive to continue your bloodline, so I say keep a careful watch on what's going on in China.

Feb 19, 2013 4:15AM
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Have no problem with lesbians, it exists in nature. Gay guys, however, is another thing. Have a good friend that lives in FL, she's a lesbian & we joke about going out to bars....ONE of us is going to come home with the cutest girl there !

On the other hand, I guess I should be thankful for gay guys....less competition !

Feb 19, 2013 3:20AM
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I'm confused.  Chinese traditional culture encourages continuing the population and family lines?  Yet they impose a one child only rule.  So which is it?  If China acknowledges that despite "cultural tradition" there's a sufficient problem for them to enforce strict population control methods.  (These two "beliefs" cannot coexist).  If anything, I think they would be pleased to have non-breeders, a reduction in those who breed because they feel "it's expected" and they're supposed to, and that by endorsing relationships that cannot procreate, they simultaneously help control population, and for those who DO want children, maybe it would help address the horrors that exist with abandoned children left to die, dropped off on doorsteps. or left at the already over-crowded "homes" for these babies that are unwanted. There could be families who sincerely want these children.  They don't have to die.
Feb 19, 2013 1:23AM
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Even as a conservative I take no issue with gay marriage- I am not anyone's judge and jury, that's up to God. I hardly think we heterosexuals have proven that we own and should dictate marriage and who should have it. I prefer to mind my own less than perfect backyard. 
Feb 19, 2013 1:00AM
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heterosexual marriage is a convenient way to get children
I can think of at least one person (my wife and mother of 3 soon to be 4 children) who would argue that "getting children" is all but convenient.

Feb 19, 2013 12:54AM
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Why do gay's and gay supporters always want to call someone who is aqainst homosexuality a homophobe? A phobia is the fear of------I personally have had to fear of any homosexual. However, I am against homosexuality. Why am I not called a Christian, or anti-homosexual or whatever? Political correctness has gone way to far in this country, and so has homosexuals and their supporters.
Feb 19, 2013 12:37AM
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Wow as if China isn't catching enough flak over their one child policy.  This is what happens when the entire country only has one male child.  What the hell are they supposed to look at.  On the upside it will not take much longer to get the population under control. 

I have no problem with any two people that want to be together, way I see it stay out of my bedroom and i will stay out of yours. What you do there is between you and your partner and of course whichever higher power you may believe in

Feb 19, 2013 12:16AM
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hey china women,if you want a real man come to the good ole USofA.

me love you long time.......................

 

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