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Websites come under scrutiny for matchmaking

Updated: 2013-11-13 01:04
By Fan Feifei ( China Daily)

Overseas events may involve human trafficking and fraud, official says

The Ministry of Public Security said a website is suspected of breaking the law for offering blind dates with Vietnamese women, and it will crack down on agencies that broker marriages between Chinese and foreigners. offered a lottery in which winners could travel to Vietnam for a blind date. It promised to refund the winner's round-trip ticket if he succeeded in marrying a Vietnamese woman. More than 20,000 men signed up for the travel promotion event.

Chen Shiqu, director of the anti-trafficking office of the ministry's criminal investigation division, said on Monday in an interview with China Central Television that the event, which might involve human trafficking and fraud, may be illegal. The Ministry of Public Security will crack down on illegal profiteering in the name of foreign-marriage brokering, he said.

There are clear prohibitive provisions about international matchmaking services, Chen said. "Foreign marriage agencies are banned. No one may engage, openly or clandestinely, in matchmaking activities with foreign nationals through deception or with the objective of seeking profits," Chen said, adding that international matchmaking services are also illegal in Vietnam.

The Ministry of Public Security will work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs to crack down on human trafficking, Chen said.

Chen's remarks followed a notice issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website on Saturday that warned Chinese citizens against matchmaking services after some people recently lost money on bride-seeking trips to Vietnam offered by some websites.

It reminded Chinese citizens to treat foreign matchmaking information with caution. They should study domestic and foreign regulations and learn about the qualifications of the matchmaking agencies before going abroad.

Chen warned that single men should not simply believe the matchmaking information online because legal risks are involved.

He said people are not commodities and "group purchasing" of brides might possibly involve human trafficking or fraud. "Once disputes between the two sides occur, the buyers' rights can hardly be protected by law," he said.

Many Chinese men paid a lot to matchmaking companies to find their brides in Vietnam. However, many of them lost their wives soon after getting married, as the women fled and never returned, according to reports.

In one case, a 50-year-old Beijing man named He paid about 70,000 yuan ($11,500) to a matchmaking agency for two trips to find a bride, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday. But his first Vietnamese wife went back to her country, claiming she was the victim of domestic violence, and his second Vietnamese wife fled.

Li Fangping, a lawyer at the Beijing Ruifeng Law Firm, said there should be a transnational mechanism between Vietnam and China to stop human trafficking.

Zhang Zhiwei, director of the Center for International Cooperation Against Human Trafficking at China University of Political Science and Law, told China Daily that many Vietnamese women married Chinese men, especially in Yunnan province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, which border Vietnam. Some matchmaking agencies abduct Vietnamese women by making up stories, such as helping them find a husband in China, Zhang said.

Zhang said some Vietnamese women flee back to their own country after getting married because of the language barrier, differences in living conditions, the unexpected poverty of their husband and homesickness.

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