Wives in big demand as scarcity bites
Hu Jiahe now knows only too well that keeping a wife requires more than just a full stomach and a nice dress; she must also never get out of sight.
His wife did so three months ago, and that was the last he saw the apple of his eye. Now he has to father and mother their two-year-old daughter.
But last month, a small window of opportunity through which he can get the wife back opened.
A sobbing wife called him begging him to send some $3,131 (Sh291,183) to what she said were her abductors.
If he does not, the woman is reported by People’s Daily of China as saying, she risked being sold to other Chinese men desperately in search of scarce women.
Hu, who lives along the China Vietnam border, had himself bought the lost bride in 2008 for about $5,600 (Sh520,800).
On gathering information from neighbouring villages and townships, Hu found he was not the only one who has lost a wife — dozens had.
“One of them was his neighbour, whose wife had said she was going shopping on the morning she disappeared — the same excuse that Hu’s wife used — but never came back,” wrote the People’s Daily.
Police in Shuangfeng County, which has jurisdiction over Hu’s village, are said to have launched an investigation into the missing Vietnamese women. The investigation has since been extended to 16 townships and villages in China.
Hu’s friend, Hu Xinfa, says he is lucky he has not yet lost his wife, but explains that he spends sleepless nights with every toss from his wife sending him out of bed.
Sociologists are said to be looking at the dynamics involved, and suspect the wives to be willing abductees.
Some are said to be happy moving from a rural live of poverty to better endowed Chinese towns.
But if Hu and his friends had visited Nairobi on September 10 last year, they would be overwhelmed by the many smartly clad women who had turned out for a sermon on how to get and keep a husband.
It was the day Nigerian Pastor Chris Ojigbani set the city ablaze with special prayers for “serious” singles who were looking for a husband.