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.
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.
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:
“What’s the point of this news?”
“Sorry, this goes against socialist values. I reported it.”
“The most disgusting news I’ve read in 2018.”
“What a brave woman to marry him.”
“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.”
“11 sisters and one brother. You tell me there’s no male preference??”