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    Bride Price

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    kaifeng1
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    Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 19/05/12, 10:19 am

    Hey guys, first post.

    Ill give you the background info (sorry, it will get long winded, but i need to get it off my chest and hope to share experiences and get advice from others that have been through this) and ill finally ask the question at the bottom.


    Im a 31 year old Aussie, ive been backpacking since i was 22 on and off for the last 10 years, i usually travel for a year or 2 and go back home, work for a year and head out again for a year or 2. On this current trip (I left Sydney Feb 2010, 28yrs old) i had planned to go through China, Nepal, India and fly to Egypt to meet up with some good friends i know there from previous trips and than head back home. Well, long story short, i met the love of my life in LuoYang, Henan working at a YHA and i never got any further in my travels.

    Ive now been in China for 2 and a bit years and with Zhen for 2 years next month. We met in Luoyang a large city and she acted like a city girl, she had been to Uni in Xian worked in Xian but she did tell me that she was from a village near Kaifeng, Henan. Im from a developed nation, i had no idea at the time about any traditions or cultural things i would come in contact with until it was too late and i was in too deep. When we first got together we had the honeymoon period that lasted until i met her parents, about a year ago. Since then ive learnt that her parents are as traditional as you can get and her mother is giving Zhen orders that she follows blindly (except the one to break up with me). i just cant understand this culture even after being drowned in it for 2 years, i dont think i ever will. Zhen is 27, not 17. Her mother tells her to jump, Zhen asks how high? OK fine, its a culture thing where the parents have total control about every aspect of their childrens life and in some strange way it is meant to be respect to just listen to your parents every word. So, needless to say the last year hasnt been the best since meeting the parents compared to the first year when i was just loving life and having a great time with just me and Zhen.

    i guess i put up with all the rubbish from her mother and other family members because i knew Zhen must have seen a future and been serious with me enough if she was willing to introduce me to her.....EXTENDED.....family and herself have to put up with countless abusive phone calls, face to face quarrels and even a case of kidnapping, even after all the horrible things her mother/family have done and said she still goes straight back to them every week gift in hand. (courtesy of me of course, i wouldnt mind paying but i hate the idea of dropping cash on people that are raciest and abusive towards me). Im not sure if i should say raciest, the family are against marrying outside of their own village so they just hate everybody. Zhens younger sister just last week broke off a 12 month relationship with a man from LiuZhou, Guangxi because she couldnt stand the treatment from her parents and other family members anymore, of course she is now back in the village living with her parents at 25 years of age.

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel however and after a long time of wearing the mother down i have finally been given approval to marry Zhen. The one catch.... a bride price. Initially it was 150,000rmb, cut down to 100,000 negotiated down by Zhen to 50,000 to which i still refused to pay to buy any person and just today Zhen came home and told me 20,000 bride price.

    My question is should i pay this money? Its not the giving of money to the mother, its the moral of the whole thing that i object too. Zhen tells me i dont have to pay but she wants me to so i get the support of her family and i know it means so much to her and i think she does actually want me to pay it. As foreigner i dont think i have to pay this price. Its actually started many arguments between us lately.

    What did everyone else do? I need advice desperately on this please! Its making my life hell.


    Cheers in advance


    Ryan
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    Chris Seaborn
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 19/05/12, 12:53 pm

    Hi Ryan, and a very warm welcome to the Forum. Boy! What a story. You are going to get a diverse range of replies, mostly negative.

    20,000 Yuan, around A$3000 not a vast sum maybe (?). It all boils down to, as a couple, how much you love each other and how much Zhen will support you. If you have doubts about her loyalty, after marriage, then don't get married and move on to fresh pastures. There are lots of wonderful women in China and if you find one you'll be amazed at the quality of your married life. The Chinese sense of family is very strong but in Zhen's case it seems over the top. If you leave China to live in Australia it may reduce family interference, but would she go or, if she did, would she stay?

    I don't think morality comes into paying a bride price,you're not 'buying her' merely compensating them for the loss of their daughter that may be their future 'aged care' insurance. They want the best for their daughter and it's quite common for the boy or the boy's parents to buy a house and other things to make sure their daughter has a good start in life, I gave my wife's parents a 'Bride Price', It wasn't asked for and wasn't expected, when I suggested this to Ying she got quite emotional that I even knew of this, she suggested a small sum and most of this was returned via the 'Red Envelopes' at the wedding dinner. It actually put me in good light with the whole family so the whole act was a bonus.

    In the end mate, really it's up to you. We do not know your lady at all. Only you, and you alone have to work this out. Red flags are flying high on this one. Use your head first, heart second.

    Cheers,
    Chris.

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    kaifeng1
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 19/05/12, 02:02 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Cheers for the reply, mate im not objecting to the price to pay for her, i think shes worth the world, we live very happily together and get on like a house on fire, in fact i think shes priceless. The old thinking of the mother is the only issue and compared to the first time i met her, now we have weekly lunches together and her cousins come by regularly for a few beers through the week. Me and her dad now get on fairly well and share many a dirty cigarette and beizhou. The relationship did suffer a lot for the initial period but now i think im through that with the last hurdle in place the bride price. After all she has agreed to let Zhen marry me. Maybe moral is the wrong word to use. it just feels wrong/dirty aka prostitution, aka mail order bride, that i have to buy a person. anyway you look at it, its buying someone, we can say its compensation but really, if we are going to talk about tradition she has 2 brothers, arent they to look after the parents in the long run and Zhen joins my family. Its just weird because im pretty sure most old cultures in the world, India, Mongolia etc actually you have to pay the mans family to take the "useless" female from the family. like most things in China the whole thing just stinks to high heaven but its the Chinese way and i accept that, but i dont have to like it, nor do i feel i have to pay it. I even have my Chinese friends of all ages 21-51 tell me that i dont have to because its not my culture and her family should see that regardless of how backwards thinking they are.

    Anyways, im not talking about if its right or wrong, i think its completely disgusting and most online searches back my thinking but id like to get an idea of what other people experienced themselves on this forum and what actually has occurred from first hand comments.

    Ive actually also been told from my Chinese friends that the sum i give should be returned to me and Zhen on the wedding day from her parents and even extra. Is this correct? i know that you can make money from a wedding with the red envelopes but the returning of the cash from the parents.... does that sound correct? if so, whats the point? is it just 'face'. if so cant they just say to their neighbours "oh, yeah, he gave us 200,000rmb" i mean if its really face cant they just talk it up?

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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Graham on 19/05/12, 02:52 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Chris S. is pretty well spot on.
    A$3000 bucks isn't a lot to pay, and I know it's not the money that your on about, it's just the idea of giving the money that irks you.
    There are many of wonderful women in China, who will all make your head spin, and your heart pound, and, not " if " you find, more " when " you find one, or probably, when she finds you.
    The quality of your "together" life, with a Chinese girl is immeasurable, beyond measure.
    Looked after and cared for like you could never believe.
    Her Chinese sense of family is very strong in Zhen's case and it does seem over the top, but hey, "TIC" This Is China,

    Apart from that, nothing much to add.
    Some guys have been stung, and taken for a ride, but I guess that can happen with any girl.
    I feel the Chinese girls are more honest than most.


    Gra.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by MadGee on 19/05/12, 03:15 pm

    Hi Ryan and welcome to the forum.

    It's well known that if a daughter intends to marry a foreigner then the $ signs light up! To be honest, only you can decide on what you are prepared to do and if Zhen is really part of your future and if she's worth it.

    She's from traditional 'village stock' so family culture will definitely be the biggest part of her life, come to terms with it or walk away but that's easier said than done! Explain to her your feelings and try to understand her reply, ask the questions you need answered and try to satisfy her parents concerns about her future.

    A huge part of the Chinese culture is to only tell you what they think you should know and not the whole scenario in case it rocks the boat. Satisfy yourself now that what you're intending to do is right and get the answers you need. Don't forget that you will be expected to pay for a lavish wedding, for the parents to justify and gain 'face' about their daughter marrying a foreigner. You should recover the cost or most of it, as long as Zhen don't hand it over to her parents, get this clarified beforehand to avoid a nasty surprise.

    It doesn't sound a bed of roses and it might be an uphill struggle now, and in the future, if you don't get it sorted.
    If it feels right and she's the one then go for it!
    Best of luck ...
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 19/05/12, 04:47 pm

    Thanks for the replies Graham and MadGee!

    I do think she is worth it, id pay $10,000,000 for her but as Graham said, its the dirty feeling i cant shake of "irking" me to give money to buy something that in our culture thats so precious as finding a loved one, wanting to spend the rest of your life with and marrying on that basis alone, not on a transaction basis.

    I have never felt like ive been taken for a ride with her, sure sometimes i get a little peeved that i pay for most things and then i realise, hang on, she earns 2,000rmb a month, of course i should pay for the hot pot or the train tickets, after all by her own words she would only be eating steam bread and going nowhere if she didnt have me, so i think its right to pay for these things, i am eating more then half the food and want her as a travel companion, so yeah i pay for that stuff like most decent guys living in China with a local miss's would.

    I have also given money to pay for her 84 year old grandfathers medical bills when he was assaulted, punched repeatedly in the face, stabbed and left for death until he was found in his house the next day. No one knows why, the police of course dont care nor did anything about it, the conclusion was - old man alone, one night someone broke in looking for cash. It was the first time i had ever seen any sort of senseless violence that we often see or hear about in the West on a daily basis on our nightly news or see in our daily papers but seems to be so well covered up here. Nobody asked me to pay for this, nobody asked me for money but what man wouldnt do such a thing if they had the power to do it. What man wouldnt do all he could do when you see an 84 year old man hanging to life inches from death lying in a dirty hospital bed a pool of his own blood all around him, his face and body messed up beyond recognition, no doctors in attendance at the local village hospital. I threw him straight into a car at the mothers distress "he doesnt like riding in the back of cars" - "christ women, his going to die today or tomorrow if we dont do something!" and took him to the city hospital 40km away. I paid for all his surgery and expenses whilst he was in the city hospital for 8 weeks. Today the old bugger is up running around like nothing ever happened. I feel i did actually save his life because the family could not have afforded to pay for the private care for that period of time. You know even after i handed over a wad of cash to pay the hospital bills i still wasnt any closer to the mother. To this day nobody besides Zhen has talked about what i did and the day i payed the money the mother could just manage a forced "xie ... . xie" This is the person im dealing with here. Just a really horrible women.

    I have been asked before through Zhen to lend her mother 30,000rmb to help put a payment on an apartment for her younger brother to which i simply laughed off. Besides that request ive never felt weird at all about money issues besides this bride price rubbish. Again, i cant stress enough how many Chinese people have told me i shouldnt have to pay it because i am Laowei. (and that her family/mother are "too bad")

    So yeah, we have a great life, i really do appreciate the tight family concept of Chinese traditional people, but i think her family/mother is just straight up nuts. i do want to marry Zhen and take her back to Oz where we can have a better life away from her family or at least move to the furthest city in China away from Kaifeng. We do talk about getting out of China but shes happy to stay if i want, so i know shes not fussed where we are thus i know shes not using me to leave China. Besides travel and food and the odd gifts of clothes or handbags, shoes etc i never have been asked for cash, just the loan of 30,000 for a down payment of an apartment for her younger brother i already spoke of, i laughed it off and Zhen has never mentioned it again.

    In the end i probably will end up paying the 20,000 because a)its 2 weeks salary back home and b)if i have to do, i have to do it, no matter how much it infuriates me. i could just never tell anyone i did this, i think its such a shameful thing i could never tell my friends or family i bought my wife.

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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Kiwi-Alan on 19/05/12, 10:40 pm

    If you wish to spend the rest of your life with Zhen, pay the money. Do you plan to stay in China much longer. Once you both move back to Australia then the family will see their cash cow disapear, with their Daughter.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by davidmckendrick on 19/05/12, 10:53 pm

    How come the family have four kids when there is a one child policy?
    Legally all children in China must support their parents financially, not just the boys.
    You object to a "Bride price" because it smacks of prostitution but are willing to pay medical expenses for her grandad and all of your girlfriend's day to day expenses. This sounds a bit two faced.
    You are suggesting that the family could "talk up" the bride price to the neighbours to increase face. This would be lying which would not be an acceptable way to increase face when the neighbours ask to see the cash....
    Don't expect the bride pricemoney to be returned at the wedding or any other time.

    Pay the money and smile. Not only is she worth every penny, a harmonious relationship with her mum is worth ten times that.

    I did pay some sort of bride price before we got married but I have no idea how much. I did not pay for the wedding feast because her dad said I had paid enough already in paying for the honeymoon. No idea what happened to any red envelopes.


    David


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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Graham on 19/05/12, 11:30 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Well you and Zhen are going to have to make a plan with the old mother.
    Looks like she really wants you to marry Zhen, as to her, you are looking the best thing for her future right now.
    Sure the old biddy wants to milk you before you take off with Zhen, but also she knows that Zhen will probably never be seen again after you two hitch up.
    It is good of you to sort out the family medical bills, but "TIC" after all.
    I am sure the old guy and his family are very grateful to you for sorting out the medical bills, but they just can't come to terms that it needed a foreigner to help them.
    At least the ice is broke with her mum, well, lets just say, slightly cracked (she is probably slightly cracked herself any way)
    So, oh yest the red envelope money that is given at the weddings, forget it, just pretend it never happened, if you start letting small things like that get in the way, then it's always going to be a possible future discussion point when you want to throw some thing at her.
    Even just pay the bride money in China, and move away from the village, far away.
    I don't know of any girls that stay in the village after they get married, they almost 100% move away to where the husband lives or works.
    Get away from the claws of the old biddy.
    Just get married, forget the medical money, forget she asked for money for the apartment, forget any chance you get the money from the red envelopes.
    If you do get some red envelope money, then good on you.
    It's not a deal breaker though.

    Gra.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 20/05/12, 01:00 am

    Hi Ryan, your later posts have made your situation more clear. The future mum-in-law reads as a dragon lady...one hopes Zhen takes after her dad. LOL.

    You must get it into your head though that Chinese culture, thoughts and deeds, are vastly different to ours in the west, it's about time our governments understood this too, paying a Bride Price is not dirty money, you're not 'buying' a prostitute and It wasn't long ago, in the west, when the girl's parents had to pay a dowry so she could marry her lad. I not sure that your statement that laoweis are exempt from paying a Bride Price, but I will stand corrected on that if need be, It reads though as if Zhen is doing very well with the negotiations. Pay the 20,000 Yuan, and the guys are probably right in thinking dragon lady will not return any during the wedding dinner Red Envelopes, but what the hell, sounds like you're getting a bargain. You've shown us the kind of man you are re; the grand-dad story, and you're right in not handing over cash for the other demands, but it's time to suck eggs with your western thoughts, pay up and if you've got half the woman that I have, then I'll tell you now you're got an extremely happy life ahead of you.

    Madgee, Graham, Kiwi and David have all given good advice. I wish you all the best too.

    Cheers mate,
    Chris.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by handyal on 20/05/12, 01:58 am

    Hi Ryan and a warm welcome to our forum.

    Tough one mate!
    'Bride price' seems a dirty word which we associate with prostitution, however you’re hardly likely to marry a prostitute. I believe in modern day China this is now referred to as 'Bride wealth'. It is usually considered to be the payment a groom owes the bride's parents for the right to her labour and reproductive capabilities.
    If you think the old and now declining Chinese tradition of a ‘Bride price’ is hard to understand with your western morals, then explain the western tradition of ‘dowry’s’. Those days are gone, or are they?
    ‘Dowry’ became a dirty word but the practice of ‘bottom draw’ gifts for the bride and groom is in effect a form of dowry practice to supply household items for the beginning of their married life together, which exists to this current day.

    You have a decision to make about your western moral conscience and an old Chinese custom. You picked lucky with the girl but not the family is your view.
    You talk about your stubborn morality against the stubborn tradition of her mother, but I feel sorry for Zhen stuck in the middle of this.
    Forget your feelings and her mothers, think about Zhens feelings and you might view it in a different light.

    In my own experience my wife was a city girl from a rural farming area. I knew something of the customs and asked my wife if her Father expected a price to be paid for her hand in marriage. The answer was ‘no’, they expected nothing, but they would be more than overwhelmed if I offered.
    It was an old custom her family no longer practiced, but as a ‘goodwill’ gesture and respect for het Father I offered 2,000RMB previously agreed by my wife and myself. It was gratefully received and a portion was immediately given back.

    I think the Mothers value is too high though. Explain it’s against your custom and traditions to pay for a bride. Compromise and offer 5,000 as a goodwill gift.

    The real question is what price you put on the peace of mind of Zhen.
    She is dealing with two clashes of morality, stubbornness, and traditional customs between yourself and her Mother.

    There is no right or wrong here, think about Zhen and do the right thing by her.
    What would she do if the roles were reversed?
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 20/05/12, 02:23 am

    David the one child policy exists in places like Beijing and Shanghai, step outside of the big cities to even a small city and youll see most families have at least 2 children. The law is in a village you can have another child if the first one is a girl but they continue to have children for their superannuation plan. They just pay a small fee, ive been told just a few thousand RMB to get it by the local police or they simply dont register the child. Zhens family/cousins/other friends families cousins....everyone basically i know of from outside the cities have 2-4 children all born from the 70's to today. Zhens older cousin just had his 4th baby, this time a boy, i think now he will stop. His 2 oldest daughters live in the village with one of his Aunties and the other with one of his neighbours and the 3rd daughter (2yrs) lives with them in Kaifeng city. The official population of 1.3bill is total B.S. The government doesnt have a glue how many people are out in the villages. It would be closer to 2bill.

    i really dont care about 20,000 so after everyones advice i will pay it, id just like to find out the thoughts about the returning of it so i can one day throw it back at dragon mother to make her loose face if need be one day, if she wants to live by her old rules, no problem but you cant have your cake and eat it too.


    edit - i just asked Zhen and she did tell me that it is tradition for the cash to be paid back on the wedding day. (so stupid to give it and just get it back, but remember guys every village/area has their own history and traditions, i just read online that in some parts of Jiangsu the womens family pays the man!) - so before i pay i will check what the mothers thoughts are on this tradition.

    David i have to pull you up on this quote "You object to a "Bride price" because it smacks of prostitution but are willing to pay medical expenses for her grandad and all of your girlfriend's day to day expenses. This sounds a bit two faced."

    i dont see how paying for an old mans medical expenses and paying for dinner when i take my girlfriend out is the same as buying a wife, explain this to me.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 20/05/12, 02:36 am

    hi handyal,

    Great advice mate, Zhen is the most important thing here and i do feel for her being stuck in the middle which is why i think i will pay the money to satisfy the family. 20,000 isnt a lot for me but its a lot of money for them. I like the idea to offer a goodwill gift of 5 or 10,000 (i payed a lot more then that for the old grandfather) or i even thought of an idea of giving Zhen a bank account with 20 or 30,000 cash in it to give them peace of mind that Zhen has money now and can look after herself if we split, which should satisfy them if they really do care for their daughter and their own future. In reality Zhen would just show them the bank book and give the cash back to me, after all we are to be married so my money is her money.

    i know her cousin (one of them) got married 2 years ago and upon asking him about the bride price told me he paid 5,000 for the engagement 4 years ago but in the village the price is now 10,000-20,000. I also found out the next door neighbour of Zhens mother just approved her daughters marriage after a village boy gave her 20,000 to marry her daughter. So if a village boy (boys entire family in reality) can sum up 20,000 the rich laowei must be able to pay the same, after all her mothers face is more important to her then her children (i actually asked her this question and the answer was YES, such a lovely lady)
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by wanneroo on 20/05/12, 03:04 am

    I feel for you Ryan its just the way it is,the price of love!! Parental control is very pertinent in China the gaurantee of the offspring to support the parents in old age is a requirement in Chinese law and its in ground in traditional values, Family is the first consideration above all things, Being at an older age makes it a lot easier My in laws have passed on many years ago, I was advised by my wife if they were still alive she would remain in China to support them. Western morality is very different If you want an Asian bride these things are normal So the thing is if the love is strong pay up, dont view it has prostitution because its totally different, when you marry the Daughter you marry the family, supporting each other in the family is the only consideration, If a Westerner wants to fall in love with the oriental beauty it will cost you,
    I live with my Chinese wife in Perth Australia any money given is stashed away. like a sort of insurance thing. it never ends, its money for the family maybe. The average person in China does not have the assetts and cash that Westerners have.It may be small but more than the chinese family has. The lights "come on" when the cash is available from wherever it comes from, taking your wife to Australia needs a lot of thought if you want to remain happy in the longer term be prepered for a lot of visits to see her family etc, be ready with helping them financially its is the way it is. You will need to have the financial ability to provide a Chinese/ Western lifestyle
    If you feel its just not acceptable, just walk away from it. go and find another lasy without or at least without a domineering Mother be guided by your head at 31 years of age you have a lot of time ahead
    I know how difficult,it can be, I have been there too !! Geoff Perth OZ

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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by CPRSCC on 20/05/12, 08:21 am

    G'day Ryan and welcome.

    Chris S. said there'd be a few different views and so here's another one.

    For most of the guys on this forum their wives had previously been married. So the bride's parents had probably already received their "compensation" for raising a daughter. In my case, Li had never married but did not live at home and had not really done so for a long time. She was in her mid 40's and the likelihood of marriage was fairly slim to a Chinese man. Li's mother was village born & raised but had lived in a city for many years so the village traditions had tempered somewhat, but were still there. She wanted the bride price. Li's father, as far as I've ever been able to establish, couldn't care less, he was happy just to see his first (of 4) child married.

    I was very like you in my attitude towards the bride price. I saw it as "buying" a person and that went against everything that I stood for. When we went in to it a little deeper, the real reason Li's mother wanted the bride price was because she has virtually no income of her own (Li's father does get a pension as an ex Government worker and it is sufficient for them to live). Her mother, though, saw an opportunity to put away some "rainy day" money.

    Very gently and slowly I explained to Li, and through her to her mother, that Australian tradition was that the bride's parents paid for the wedding and that earlier traditions had the bride's family paying the groom, not the other way around. I also explained that at the wedding, guests were expected to give the bride and groom presents which would be kept by the newlywed couple. The purpose for doing this was to establish a point from which negotiations could commence. They saw that if I insisted on Australian tradition then they were up for some serious expense since I had told them that they would be expected to pay for the wedding in Australia as well (because it was the "real" wedding).

    I then offered a means of compromise by offering to pay for the "wedding" in China (just a reception, really because we were to be actually married here in Australia) and pay for the real wedding in Australia as well. I also, at this point, said that I would not pay any form of bride price.

    The next point was to allay Li's mother's fears of not having any form of income or support if her husband should pass away. I made the point that by marrying Li I was marrying into her family and that that brought a responsibility to assist in caring for them. This brought great relief and a new found respect that this "foreigner" should acknowledge their traditions of caring for elders. This was a very important thing because I'm fairly sure that they had the impression that we would wing off into the sunset, never to be seen or heard from again.

    I then went on to explain that I already had a full household of furniture, linen, appliances and so on and as such had no need for presents, nor could I take these back from China to Australia. They realised, however, that money (from the red envelopes) was much more portable. The compromise was to offer Li's mother the proceeds from the red envelopes.

    In this way I avoided paying a bride price that I objected to, in principle, while Li's mother got her nest egg. I paid for the reception but, in AUD terms, this was very small. More importantly, I have continued to help Li's parents by supplementing their income as well as helping out Li's brother when a fire at his work meant that he was struggling a bit. The cost of this is immaterial, I'm happy to help. I think I'm now seen as part of the family and, more importantly, a man of my word.

    As you would no doubt understand, respect and face are everything in China. My solution allowed everyone to maintain face and achieve their eventual aims.

    I can't give you advice, but I can give you the benefit of my experience. It does seem that you have broken the ice with your prospective mother-in-law. If the real reasons for her stance are the same as I experienced (quite likely, I'd imagine), then there may well be an opportunity for some kind of similar compromise.

    Good luck with it.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by handyal on 20/05/12, 10:16 am

    Hi Ryan,
    Most societies, at some point in their history, have been characterized by payments at the time of marriage. Such payments typically go hand-in-hand with marriages arranged by the parents of the respective spouses. These marriage payments come in various forms and sizes but can be classified into two broad categories: transfers from the family of the bride to that of the groom, broadly termed as “dowry,” or from the groom’s side to the bride’s, broadly termed as “brideprice.”

    In China, Taiwan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and many parts of Africa, the brideprice is still prevalent especially throughout many rural areas ( not all) but has almost deminished in urban areas.

    In India, Pakistan, and Bangldesh, the dowry is still prevalent throughout the rural areas, and urban areas in India.

    China however is one of the few examples where both the brideprice and the dowry coexisted in ancient traditions, with the brideprice being compulsory and the dowry, which is more voluntary in nature, typically financed with a return portion of the brideprice.
    Taiwan also seems to follow this traditional Chinese practice of exchanging marriage payments in both directions.

    If her Mother is truly following the ancient traditions then she should repay a portion of the brideprice as a goodwill gesture at the wedding reception as a form of dowry.

    In China, the wedding reception can also take place many months later, after the marriage. The gifts of red envelopes containing cash is no different to the practice in the west of the giving of presents by family and friends.

    The red envelopes can cover the cost of the reception if it's in an urban area.
    In my case many of her family couldn't afford the trip to Nanning so we held the reception in Binyang (her hometown). Even then we paid bus and taxi fares for many of the guests.
    Being a rural area and poor farming families, we recovered about 1/2 of the cost, which I subsequently told my wife to give to her Father for 'living' expenses.

    Even in the UK we continued to send small but frequent 'living' expenses to her Father and more recently extra for medical expenses.

    If you marry into their culture then it's always best to find out their family cultural values first, then decide if you can live with your moral conscience clear.
    Brideprice was an ugly word to me too, so I called it a 'gift'. Her family accepted the word change and my conscience was clear.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Robert on 20/05/12, 07:30 pm

    Hi Ryan.

    Do they think you're a sucker, you already paid for medical bills for grandfather not been appreciated, being ask for a down-payment on apartment for their son then the mother started at 150,000rmb for her daughter's dowry, then you be ask supplementing her parents' income including paying for all the wedding costs, not to mention visas and travelling, what next new apartment or farm including a new car every three years for her parents,In the future you be expected to pay all medical bills for family you yourself have started a tradition by paying the grandfather's medical bills not just the parents rest of family including niece and nephews
    If you paid 20,000rmb that just a down-payment sounds like you be paying out for rest of your life.

    My wife comes from a small village as well after eight years of marriage I'd never been asked for one penny, even when her father died for the funeral arrangements, they have their pride.

    If your future wife really love you she would tell her family to back off but she seems to be negotiated, then she may have illusions when she in Australia she have good paying job she be telling her family I shall take care of all of you in reality her English will not be very good so she shall be getting low paid job and she will lose face with her family then she be putting more pressure on you to take care of the family.

    My advice would be to make it quite clear to your future intended you will not paying 20,000 or 10,000 or village rate of 5000 rmb she as the choice to marry you or money which you will not supply,your choice is pay now and for rest of your life or find someone what really does love you, tell her is an Australian tradition we married for love not money






    Last edited by Robert on 20/05/12, 10:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by makem on 20/05/12, 08:44 pm

    Han lived near Kaifeng in a city called Zhengzhou. She says the people in Kaifeng and the surrounding villages are well known as 'grasping' people.

    I visited Kaifeng once for a day trip and found it uninteresting apart from some swimmers diving into freezing water from the roadside.
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by davidmckendrick on 21/05/12, 02:07 am

    Hi Ryan,
    You say that the one child policy doesn't exist outside the big cities and that a small fee of a few thousand RMB is paid when a second or subsequent child is born. I wonder then why Chen Guangcheng is being persecuted for exposing the fact that some women are subjected to forced abortions to comply with the one child policy? If the policy doesn't exist then there must be very few such terminations and therefore hardly worth the governments time and effort in trying to suppress what he is saying?
    As for a “small fee” of several thousand RMB. I imagine that a fine of several thousand RMB is a large portion of a villagers annual salary when some farmers are lucky to earn 3 or 4 thousand RMB in a year.
    I do not know any Chinese families in China who have more than one child staying with them., but you already explained that they hide some of their children by having them stay with extended family or even neighbours. I do know a Chinese family in UK who had two children in China but they paid the fine for the second child. I don't know how much they had to pay but they did say it amounted to almost six months salary.
    If a child is simply not registered what happens when you need medical treatment for the child or you want to get the child started at school but have no birth certificate or any record of the birth?
    I take it you are being totally altruistic in paying for the extended family's medical expenses and for taking your girlfriend out and expect nothing in return from your girlfriend?
    When you pay the dowry or brideprice you don't “own” a wife. She has a mind of her own and will do what she wants to do regardless of how much you paid or what deal was agreed with her family. Except that there is still that legal requirement to support her parents financially in their old age....
    Robert is right – once you have established that you are fabulously wealthy in their eyes and are willing to pay medical bills for her aged grandfather without being asked you will be expected to keep paying for every expense from Zhen's extended family forever.


    David
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    kaifeng1
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 21/05/12, 03:56 am

    David, your posts read as being so negative, i hope your not like that in person. I simply started a thread asking about bride prices and what people paid?! i dont know what you are talking about with this Chen thing, do your own research about how liberal the one child policy is outside of Beijing. It is law in rural areas that if the first child is a girl you can have a second. That is fact. Zhens family is Han but Im also sure this policy doesnt apply to the 55 ethnic minorities in China, they can have as many children as they wish. Just like you i was uneducated on the matter and had never heard of such a thing until i lived in China. Growing up in Oz i had only ever known about the one child policy but in reality its baloney. Of course western media wouldnt have its own agendas to push about big bad China and its cruel human rights records and policies such as the 'one baby policy' which is correct if you live in Beijing or Shanghai...(even than you can still pay a fine and have more then one child!) Ask your Chinese wife about this, unless she is one of those Chinese people that tells you only what you need to know im sure she will tell you the truth all about it. I say this with tongue in cheek but there really is no laws in China, just rough guidelines, what friends you know and how deep are your pockets is all that matters. I know of a man that killed another man in a beizhou fueled drunken fight, spent 3 days in jail and paid 200,000 to the family and local police and was let out! Thats China for you, how do i know this man? well of course it was one of Zhens cousins and his/Zhens uncle has a small job in the local government. (its not what you know, its who you know and how much cash have you got)

    When Zhens younger sister was born at just 1 month old she was shipped off to a neighbouring village to live with Zhens mothers older sister who also at the time had 2 children, Zhens sister returned to her mother when she was 11. i dont know how all this works, i have asked Zhen and she herself doesnt know about how the child 're-enters' Chinas system (im sure you just bribe some official when the time comes) but as previously stated one of her cousins currently has children all over the place to avoid the fines. I do know of another cousin that paid 4,000rmb to have a 3rd child. He lives in Kaifeng City and his monthly salary is 4-5,000rmb. He works as a sales agent for a medical company, has his own apartment, car etc etc. Not all of the family are poor village people living off one bowl of rice a day as some on here may have the impression. Zhens father along with his brother own a concrete factory and are not the poorest in their village but of course they dont have 1,000's of spare cash and what was needed (maybe just the thinking to get him to a half decent hospital with staff!) for the grandfather. They have paid to put their 4 children through University for 4 year courses. These people are not rich but they are not dirt poor either. Id take a guess and say between the parents they'd earn 2-4,000 a month. Im sure all the Uni fees and cash to their children living away from home over the last decade has cleaned them out.

    I think the original asking price of 150,000 for Zhen was for 2 reasons -
    a)just a test to see if i would run or stay to fight it out for Zhen. After all the quarreling and negotiations about my culture and thinking the mother seems ok with me now to marry Zhen for just a small bride price of 20,000 i also havent even mentioned originally marriage was impossible because i dont own an apartment in Kaifeng! Imagine all the quarrels and negotiations to get that huge hurdle out of the way. The small price of 20,000 is good for me (but i still object to it) and good for her mother because i will still follow her old traditions and she saves her face.

    b)150,000 would have been a huge chunk of change to put immediately onto an apartment for the son. Kaifengs apartment prices these days are 5,000rmb/m2 and most apartments ive looked at are 500,000 - 750,000 so if they are looking at buying one of these they must have some way to get the 40% cash together, i guess other family members would pool it all together??

    "I take it you are being totally altruistic in paying for the extended family's medical expenses and for taking your girlfriend out and expect nothing in return from your girlfriend?" - David, you make it sound like im paying for every little bandaid. let me ask you, what would you do if you saw an old man dying in front of you and knew you could do something about it? Of course in a matter like this altruism plays a huge part, the only part. I dont consider Zhens grandfather or my grandfather as 'extended family' i consider that my immediate family. My cousins or my grandfathers brother i would consider extended family. Also what man doesnt take his girlfriend out to dinner? In kaifeng we go out 3 times a week and have a huge hot pot until we cant possibly eat anymore including as many beers as i can drink and the cost is usually between 75-115rmb or $12-$18. It would cost $10 to eat a burger at McDonalds in Oz. Its $6 for a beer at my local pub! i think im getting off pretty good in this situation. "...expect nothing in return from your girlfriend?" Like any boyfriend/husband in the world that takes their girlfriend/wife out to dinner, what do they expect in return? Maybe its my nature, i like to share and have fun with people around me, im the same in Oz i dont expect anything in return. Do you pay one time for your wife and then expect she pays the next time??

    Makem - Zhengzhou is 55km from Kaifeng. (45mins by train) Its believed with the urban sprawl Kaifeng and Zhengzhou will be the one city within 10-15 years. i too have heard that Kaifeng Ren are not the best, i believe im experiencing it first hand. My friends from other parts of China tell me Henan is the worst province for bad people and my friends from Henan tell me that Kaifeng is the worst place in Henan, so there you go, i agree 100% the people here are horrible and i wish to move back to Nanning shortly. (i lived in Nanning Sept2011 - Jan2012 to avoid the winter in the north)

    In summary, ive been asked for 150,000 bride price, negotiated down to 20,000 to which i am considering paying or i like the idea of not paying and giving all the red envelopes to the parents from the wedding as a gift like handyal did. i will pay for the wedding. Thoughts?
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    HSV068
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by HSV068 on 21/05/12, 10:01 am

    I have read this topic with great interest, and from 1 Aussie to another, Grab the girl and do a runner,into the sunset, as fast as your little legs can carry you my friend, get hitched here or in Oz, then when the dust settles, work out what does and does not matter to the two of you, there is no charge for this advice, cheers, when in Nanning I will shout the first round OK
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by kaifeng1 on 21/05/12, 10:10 am

    Sorry to hijack my own thread but to Graham - i tried sending you a Private Message but it said i havent posted enough to have this function yet and i cant post emails so ive subbed the "@" for an "at".

    email - reyre2000"at"gmail.com

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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by Graham on 21/05/12, 10:38 am

    HSV068 wrote:I have read this topic with great interest, and from 1 Aussie to another, Grab the girl and do a runner,into the sunset, as fast as your little legs can carry you my friend, get hitched here or in Oz, then when the dust settles, work out what does and does not matter to the two of you, there is no charge for this advice, cheers, when in Nanning I will shout the first round OK
    .
    .
    WELL SAID ROGER.

    Get sorted now, and worry about the after effects later.

    Gra.

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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by CPRSCC on 21/05/12, 02:53 pm

    kaifeng1 wrote: In summary, ive been asked for 150,000 bride price, negotiated down to 20,000 to which i am considering paying or i like the idea of not paying and giving all the red envelopes to the parents from the wedding as a gift like handyal did. i will pay for the wedding. Thoughts?

    I think, Ryan, that if you can sell this to the old girl, you're on a winner. The only thing I'd say about this process is don't forget that the Chinese are masters of negotiation. You need to come from a position which is abhorrent to them and give in slowly, arriving back to the point where you wanted to be in the first place but, by concession, allowing her to save face by feeling that she has negotiated a satisfactory deal.

    While grabbing the girl and running may be a sentiment that we all understand, it isn't the best solution long term. Zhen is obviously close to her mother, or at least respects her. Coming between a girl and her Mum isn't the best recipe for happiness. Even the tiniest bit of resentment can fester and come back tenfold later.
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    handyal
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    Re: Bride Price

    Post by handyal on 21/05/12, 05:36 pm

    Hi Ryan,

    The PM system is available to you after 10 posts.
    Come on members, you know this so don't send new members a PM they can't reply to. Sorry to distract from this very interesting topic.

    I agree with Chris's advice (CPRSCC). Never come between a Chinese girl and her family. In the end there will only be one winner, and sadly Zhen would be the loser, one way or another. Compromise and negotiate. Beat the old lady at her own game.

    To those of you who suggest Ryan grabs Zhen and does one, I think that's a selfish attitude. Zhen may need her family in the future, your not thinking about her situation in this position.

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