Marriage and money in Wuhan


Wuhan Morning Post
October 16, 2009

Today’s Wuhan Morning Post (slogan: News fulfills life) covers several stages of marriage on its front page.

The paper leads with a headline about a campaign to crack down on dodgy matchmaking services:

According to consumer association statistics, through September of this year there had been 178 complaints about matchmaking services, double last year’s rate. Major complaints: Matchmaking companies used fake suitors to defraud clients, provided false information, or failed to perform the services they had been paid for.


According to a survey on fake suitors conducted in August by the metropolitan bureau of industry and commerce, one-quarter of clients of matchmaking services had encountered fakes.

The services are simply responding to market demand, said one manager:

Age range and male-female ratios are highly incompatible, so to deal with clients, they were forced to recruit “fake suitors” to substitute. “Say there are twenty 25-year-old women. All of them want a rich man around 35 years old, but you can only find one man, at most, who fits that description, so to deal with the other nineteen, you’ve got to find three ringers to take turns meeting the rest of the women.”

According to the article, a national standard for matchmaking services, and an accompanying license system, will be rolled out by year-end.

Once you’ve found that special someone, you’ve got to pay for the wedding. “What if you don’t have the money to get married? A loan from a financial company” reads a headline in the sidebar. Unsecured personal loans are available on a trial basis to allow Wuhan residents to purchase durable goods and finance general consumption such as weddings, travel, renovations, and education.

Finally, the headline below the front-page photo reports on a rumor that Ba Nengjun, head of the Wuhan-based Hongbo Group, has been implicated in the corruption scandal that has taken down Wuhan University’s vice-party secretary, Long Shaole, and vice-president, Chen Zhaofang.

One story circulating says that Ba’s wife turned him in to investigators after learning of his plans to divorce her.

Ba’s troubles are primarily due to a report his wife made a few months ago,” said one informed source. The source also said that Ba had worked closely with his wife, surnamed Peng, in his business ventures. Peng was vice-president in charge of finance for Hongbo Group. This year, Ba suggested a divorce, but Peng did not accede , and their relationship soured. “Peng was well-acquainted with Ba’s work, and knew exactly how much he gave to what people at what time, so when he wanted to divorce her, she took the record of his bribes to the prosecutors, which then led to Chen Zhaofang and Long Xiaole getting dragged in.”

The Wuhan Morning Post report contains a rebuttal from the Hongbo Group, denying rumors that Peng was the informant and claiming that Ba and his wife were on good terms.

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