Monday, January 29, 2007

Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Ghost Bride

Recently eaten: chicken parm, banana bread
Recent annoyance: all you had your unbearable summer so just shut your cake-holes

When I visited mainland China with my aunt, uncle and cousin back in the day, I thought they were being paranoid when they wouldn't let me go to the bathroom by myself at the local mall. "Sometimes, " they warned, "girls go in and never come out." Holy hat, they weren't kidding. Maybe in Bangkok, or North Korea, but I would assume I could keep all my limbs and organs in China unless I tried to steal a panda or something. Remind me not to sell myself into an arranged marriage that next time I am hard up for some cash.

China arrests men for murdering ghost brides
"Chinese police have arrested three men for killing two young women to sell their corpses as "ghost brides" for dead single men, a Chinese newspaper reported, warning the dark custom might have claimed many other victims.

Yang Donghai, a 35-year-old farmer in western China's Shaanxi province, confessed to killing a woman bought from a poor family for 12,000 yuan ($1,545) last year.

She thought she was being sold into an arranged marriage, but Yang killed her in a gully and sold her corpse for 16,000 yuan, the Legal Daily reported on Thursday. He and two accomplices then killed a prostitute and sold her for 8,000 yuan before police caught them.

"I did it for the money; it was a quick buck," Yang said, according to the paper. "If I hadn't slipped up early, I planned to do a few more."

The women were victims of an old belief, still alive in the yellow-earth highlands of western China, that young men who die unmarried should go to their graves accompanied by deceased women who will be their wives in the afterlife. Often these women die natural deaths.

Police in Yanan, the poor and dusty corner of Shaanxi where Chairman Mao Zedong nurtured his Communist revolution, said the dark trade went beyond these cases.

"The actual number is far from just these," the paper said.

Yang and two helpers sold the bodies to Li Longsheng, an undertaker who police said specialized in buying and selling the dead women for "ghost weddings." It was unclear what happened to Li."

Baby, you were worth every yuan

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