China’s demographic disaster impacts Pakistan

The AP has a long and sad story out, Pakistani Christian girls trafficked to China as brides. One must be careful of sensational stories that hit a lot of our emotional buttons, but it seems deeply reported, and names names.

Because of the surplus of men in China, there has been a recent tendency of “importing” girls and women from poorer East Asian countries. A milder form of this has occurred in South Korea, and earlier Japan. Generally, the men and families who have to make recourse to this are poorer and less attractive on the Chinese marriage market. Some of the same has occurred, to a lesser extent, in South Asia, with Punjabi farmers obtaining wives from eastern India and Bangladesh.

The fact that Chinese men are seeking wives from Pakistan is probably a function of the reality that Vietnam is getting too prosperous, and Laos is not particularly populous (I don’t know the situation in North Korea,  though with the nationalistic nature of that regime I don’t see that as being a sustainable option). And obviously, Pakistan’s alliance with China matters a great deal.

The fact that these are poor Christian women helps as well. To be frank, I suspect that the Pakistani elite does not see their traffic as a matter of honor due to a lack of identification for reasons of class and religion. Additionally, it is far more plausible for a Chinese groom to contend that they are converts to Christianity than they are converts to Islam (there are much stronger cultural conflicts between being Han and Muslim than being Han and Christian).

With 1.4 billion people, it is hard for Chinese matters not to impact its neighbors…

15 thoughts on “China’s demographic disaster impacts Pakistan”

  1. Interesting tidbit. In colonial times, rural Punjab had a tradition of importing Chinese brides. The reasons were actually quite horrendous – female infanticide was rampant among Sikhs, especially Jat Sikhs. Lack of girls of marriageable age meant that they resorted to importing girls from outside communities. Some of these Sikhs used to serve in SE Asia in British armies, and used to bring along wives when they came back to their villages. So I guess the world has come to full circle.

  2. All joking aside: this is something I have expected to see all along. In that, it is sort of like the College Admissions Scandal making headlines in the US these days. China (and India for that matter) has too many men and not enough women. The Muslim countries of MENA and SEA have too many people and not enough capital. The logical thing for both sides is to trade women for money. This will cause white liberals in the EU/USA to have conniption fits, but their disapproval caries no weight in other parts of the world. I do not think that either Islam or Chinese philosophies have any deep seated objection to the idea. Although, I do not know if fits caste oriented areas.

    1. the problem with muslims is that in islam there is a strong taboo against women marrying out, since children follow the religion of the father. and among chinese there is a much stronger resistance to converting to islam because that is perceived to be switching ethnicity, not just religion (you make huge cultural shifts, like not eating pork).

      this is why it makes sense these are pakistani christians.

      another problem for chinese men is that south asian women are too dark-skinned for their preference.

  3. “another problem for chinese men is that south asian women are too dark-skinned for their preference.”

    But the christian ones are the most dark-skinned ones . Many (most) of them are dalit converts. I am not sure if these are legitimate “marriage” or just a ruse for trafficking women back to China

  4. even the average pakistani is too dark for chinese beauty canons. indicates level . of desperation by non-elite chinese men.

    some of it may be trafficking, but one of the men kept asking why his ‘wife’ wasn’t pregnant yet. so i think in some cases these are attempts to find wives.

  5. This is awfully sad. I thought that there was a silver lining to this in that China’s gender gap had been steadily narrowing over the past decade according to official stats (as had happened in South Korea). But world bank data gives a conflicting account — fluctuating between 114 and 116 males every 100 females at birth since 1997 with no significant decline in the last decade. India similarly steady at 111-110. Both figures are very bad.

    Not informed enough to know whose data is more reliable. Knee jerk gringo reaction would be to mistrust Chinese govt stats, but I don’t see how World Bank numbers could be reliable either without significant input from local officialdom.

    Data downloadable here

    1. south korea still has a problem though because of the past generation. what could be happening in china right now is due to ppl being born in the 1980s and 1990s. not today.

      1. Yeah, the generational time lag means China and India will be dealing with the fallout of this for the foreseeable future.

        I think for India we’re yet to see the worst of it. Some commentators have conjectured a link between the uptick in sexual violence recorded recently to skewed sex ratios, although studies on this have shown it’s not as pronounced as its made out to be. One study claims it (only?) accounts for about 10% of the rise in gender based violence seen in recent years. Another did a state by state study, and the correlation is nowhere as big as some have spun it. Add to this the number of confounding factors at play for overall crime rates (income inequality, unemployement) which vary across regions and countries… glad I’m not a social scientist.

    2. Limonov: I think about 700 million people live in the territory of China. It’s not a bit, on the contrary – it’s a lot, but it’s not 1.4 billion. If you know the history of China, you know that the infliction of the population has always been a means of scaring the enemies, “barbarians” who, therefore, had to think over many times before deciding to attack.

      I have recently found that in this matter I have the same people who more convincingly prove me (citing concrete data) that China really has fewer inhabitants than it claims. I also think that they are deliberately inflating to the record and achievements of China in many areas of production and construction.

      The United States also exaggerates its economic and military power. The USA and their industry make a kind of “Hollywood reality”. The US lives on debt and its debts do not intend to return. Consider: how many measurements are needed and how many millions of data to determine that in some industry the output is increased by at least 1 percent. These are indeed millions of measurements and data, and even the smallest errors in it can give a fantastic rather than a realistic picture.

      In short, the US and China are creating a false image of themselves, at least about their economies. Real fairy tales that go to their bargain.

  6. “even the average pakistani is too dark for chinese beauty canons.”

    When the bar gets to closing time, the standards of beauty tend to go out the window.

  7. Well, the deeper disaster here is the utter helplessness and rejection this group of people must have felt, to change their faith and identity. Ultimately, their low caste kept them isolated ad powerless despite all their attempts to escape it.

    Their misery can be finally located in the attitudes and beliefs of upper caste Punjabi Hindus. Ambedkar’s will and influence ensured that their co-sufferers across the border are not as helpless. But the attitudes of upper caste Hindus remain as revolting today, even if they or their parents abandoned India for the liberty and prosperity of a caste less West.

    Proud to be Rajput, Brahmin, Jat etc etc

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