China Elevator Stories

“I’ll only marry if I meet the right guy”

I visit a Chinese friend in Yunnan.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


In September 2013, I visit Xiu, a Chinese woman my age, in her hometown in a remote valley in Western Yunnan. She tells me: “I’ll only marry if I meet the right guy.” She has a boyfriend, but she doesn’t want to marry him.

A few months later, she tells me that she’s getting married. I’m surprised and congratulate her. The day before her wedding, Xiu posts a status update: “I don’t want to get married, don’t want to have kids.”

When I see some of her wedding pictures, the guy in the pictures isn’t the boyfriend she had a few months prior.

Some time after her wedding, Xiu tells me that her due date is in October. Xiu didn’t marry because she met the right guy. She married because she was pregnant.

Have you ever heard a similar story?

Explanation: In China, children born out-of-wedlock can not be legally registered within the Chinese household registration system (hukou), making it impossible for them to attend public kindergarten and school or have social insurance. This is the reason why many couples decide to get married if the woman becomes pregnant.

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