11 sisters help Shanxi man get married. Chinese internet says, ‘Wait, what?’ - SupChina

11 sisters help Shanxi man get married. Chinese internet says, ‘Wait, what?’

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A 22-year-old man in Shanxi Province recently got married, thanks to tremendous financial help from his 11 older sisters.

The man, Gao Haozhen 高浩珍, is the only male child and the youngest in his huge family. To support his marriage, Gao’s 11 sisters rustled up 320,000 yuan ($48,000) to help him buy a house and betrothal gifts.

In a widely shared video (in Chinese) of the wedding, the 11 sisters can be seen wearing the same red t-shirt with different numbers on it. The digits, ranging from 1 to 11, apparently represent their relative seniority to their only brother.

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As soon as the news came out, it sent the Chinese internet into a frenzy. Many people were unsure how to react, since every bit of the story seems a little off. Why couldn’t the man fund his own marriage? Were any of the sisters pressured into this scheme? How in the world did the parents, who lived during the one-child policy, manage to have 12 children?

To placate the masses and set the record straight, Gao Yu 高玉, one of the sisters, spoke (in Chinese) to Paper.cn and said that all of the sisters chose to fund the marriage of their own accord. Her mother gave birth to her first child at age 20. Over the course of 27 years, she gave birth to 11 more, finally stopping when the family had their first son, Gao Haozhen.

However, Gao Yu asserts that “every child is treated equally” in their family, and that Haozhen isn’t special just because he’s the only male. “My parents’ generation have some conventional ways of thinking. They just want a son,” the sister said, adding that her parents paid a remarkable amount in fines to have multiple children due to the one-child policy.

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Gao Yu also revealed that among the sisters, she is the only one who went to high school. Two of her sisters didn’t receive any formal education because of poverty. She said her whole family is perplexed by their newfound online fame. On behalf of her brother, she denied the newspaper permission to interview him.

Given the absurdity of this story, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the interview did little to stop online users from talking about it. Below are a selection of comments:

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“What’s the point of this news?”

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“Sorry, this goes against socialist values. I reported it.”

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“The most disgusting news I’ve read in 2018.”

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“What a brave woman to marry him.”

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“Grotesque.”

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“I believe they volunteered because in that environment, they have no idea how ridiculous their acts are. Their ability to sense what’s right and what’s wrong has been completely lost.”

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“11 sisters and one brother. You tell me there’s no male preference??”

Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

2 Comments

  1. Ricardo Reply

    The article failed to note that there were several positive comments as well. Several readers wished them well, observing that the family seemed happy and that its private arrangements were nobody’s business. Others noted that the daughters had not been abandoned or put out for adoption and that in its curious way the family was redressing China’s gender imbalance.

    While such stories grate harshly on the pc nerves of right-minded feminists, there is nothing absurd about them. Whether we like it or not, the phenomenom of families continuing to have children until they bear a son is a very common one in China (and, yes, elsewhere) and is worthy of dispassionate study.

  2. Jill Baird Reply

    Yes, but how did they escape the one child policy? Enough money to pay fines but not enough to send the girls to school?

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