In a bizarre twist of matrimonial fraud, a man in Henan province, China, has filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife, seeking reimbursement of a hefty 186,000 yuan (approximately US$26,000) bride price. The unusual case, which has taken Chinese social media by storm, reveals a pattern of deceit where the woman, identified by the pseudonym Shuang, allegedly exploited the tradition of betrothal gifts for financial gain.
The plaintiff, referred to as Xiaoya, encountered Shuang through a matchmaker and married her in May, following a brief courtship that began with a blind date in March. However, just two months into their marriage, Shuang underwent an abortion, citing fetal anomalies as diagnosed by doctors. Immediately after the procedure, she sought a divorce from Xiaoya.
Initially compliant with the divorce, Xiaoya later pursued legal action to recover the bride price, a common custom in China where the groom’s family presents a gift to the bride’s family. His claim was initially dismissed by two lower courts, but a subsequent appeal to a higher court brought to light Shuang’s alleged history of similar fraudulent schemes.
Xiaoya presented evidence suggesting that Shuang had previously been married six times, each time following a similar pattern: a quick marriage, an early pregnancy leading to an abortion, and a swift divorce, with a substantial betrothal gift left unreturned. To support his claims, Xiaoya brought forth a father-in-law from one of Shuang’s former marriages, who testified to a comparable experience involving his son.
The revelations led the high court to rule in favor of Xiaoya, albeit partially. The court ordered Shuang to refund 100,000 yuan (US$14,000), acknowledging her undergoing a pregnancy and abortion but recognizing her lack of genuine commitment to the marriage. The judge’s decision reflects a balancing act between the physical and emotional toll on Shuang and the financial implications of her actions.
This case has sparked widespread debate and shock on Chinese social media platforms, with users expressing disbelief and outrage at the exploitation of marriage for financial purposes. Comments ranged from concern over Shuang’s physical well-being to condemnation of her manipulation of the betrothal gift tradition.
The issue of betrothal gifts has been a contentious topic in China, with numerous cases of disputes over the size and return of these gifts making headlines. This case, in particular, highlights the complexities and potential for abuse within traditional marriage customs in contemporary society.