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Latest update : 2017-06-09

Video: Millions of single Chinese men desperately seeking a wife

In China, the one-child policy has wreaked havoc. By encouraging the birth of boys rather than girls, an imbalance of the sexes has emerged. China now counts far more men than women. Millions of these men, now of marriageable age, are desperately seeking a wife - and they will do anything to try to find one, even if it means buying one abroad or even kidnapping a woman. Marjolaine Grappe and Christophe Barreyre tell us more in this documentary.

The Chinese call them "Guang gun", "dead branches" which will never bear fruit. In short, men condemned to a life without a wife, without children, and without the hope of one day starting a family. In China, there are already millions of these bachelors in search of a soulmate and their ranks are swelling.

Ten years ago, there was talk of the "curse of being born a girl". As a result of the one-child policy – in force until 2015 - millions of little girls were killed before they were born or just afterwards. Sometimes they were abandoned shortly after their birth. Most families preferred to give birth to a boy, so that he could carry on the family line.

>> Also watch our report: "China's second child flop"

It turned out to be a demographic time bomb. Today, the “curse” has backfired on these boys, who are now men. According to forecasts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one in five men will be unable to find a wife by 2020. China will have a surplus of 30 to 40 million men under the age of 19. That’s the equivalent of the entire population of young men in the United States.

Trafficking of women

In some regions, "single villages" have emerged. The few women who were there have left the area to look for a rich husband in town. So men who want a chance to get married have to move to other regions. Millions of young men flock to the south of the country and work day and night in the factories of the Pearl Delta, "the workshop of the world", while hoping to find a soulmate. But even here, women are in short supply.

In desperation, some Chinese men prefer to run away or buy a woman abroad, often from Burma, Vietnam or Indonesia... Others give up. For some, anything goes, even if it means enlisting the help of traffickers and kidnapping a woman.

We went to meet single men who are crushed by the mathematical impossibility of finding a spouse and prepared to do anything not to end up alone. They agreed to speak to us and to take us to the heart of this unlikely trafficking operation.

A report by Marjolaine Grappe and Christophe Barreyre / Orientxpress Production.

By Christophe BARREYRE , Marjolaine GRAPPE

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