Explainer | Why does China still have child brides despite 1950 ban? Decoding origins, how candidates are picked and raised

by Yating Yang at scmp.com

An ancient tradition called tong yang xi persists in China by which a family can adopt a girl from infancy or childhood and raise her as a future wife for one of their sons.

But how do they find a “candidate” and raise her? Why does the custom still exist today after being officially banned on May 1, 1950. The Post explains.

What lies behind?

The tradition of tong yang xi, which was once widespread in China, originated from the financial hardships faced by families burdened with numerous children.

Often unable to support their daughters, families see the practice as a way out for both the daughter and the family.

It also benefits the groom’s family by reducing future marriage expenses because no bride price is required and wedding ceremonies are simpler.

This allows sons from modest backgrounds to marry minus a financial burden.

Also, adopting a young girl not only secures a future wife for a son but also adds an extra pair of hands, contributing to the adopting family’s labour needs.