Love and marriage in China - foreigners paradise?

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

If you want to follow down the route of marrying a Chinese person, as a foreigner, what do you do?

First, go to the website of the Chinese government: service/ marriage.htm

What if you can't view this site?
Go online and get some advice.

But first, why do Westerners want to marry Chinese? And why do Chinese want to marry Westerners?

China Today gives an overview:

Mixed nationality marriages are on the increase, but to most Chinese marrying someone from the West is no longer a means to getting rich or going abroad, as in the early years of China's opening up and reform. Most Sino-foreign couples marry for love on the basis of mutual understanding and congeniality.

So why do Chinese women want to have Western husbands?
Dao Jones at has this to say:

What makes Chinese girls so attractive?
Chinese girls have many qualities ensuring that they are constantly in demand. Chinese girls are typically very attractive physically - very feminine, petite and slender with delicate features and innate grace.
Chinese girls are gentle and polite. A typical Asian upbringing engenders its women with the importance of manners and respect for others.
Chinese women are charming and attentive to their partner. The institution of marriage is valued very highly in Chinese culture and it is seen as a commitment to be undertaken with the utmost seriousness.
Chinese girls are highly conscious of the paramount significance of family. In essence, Chinese women have grown up respecting traditions that have existed in their homelands for thousands of years, of which marriage and family are an indispensable part.
Chinese women are easily adaptable to new cultures. The friendliness and politeness of Chinese girls ensures that they quickly make new friends wherever they go.
Why do Chinese women like Western men?
Chinese girls are very familiar with the many advantages of Western men and value the virtues with which they are associated.
For example, the deference, consideration and chivalry, which can not always be found in their male counterparts in China. In Chinese culture, Chinese women are seen as being secondary and indeed subservient to their husbands, rather than interacting on the same level as them.
The politeness and respect that Chinese girls have been raised to act with as second nature is not reciprocated in China, whereas Western men will return it many times over.

Here's an argument against(and for):

Some advice
"Never marry a Chinese woman. They're steel rods swathed in flowers," said well known Australian born Hong Kong Journalist Richard Hughes, who was happily married for many years, til death did them part, to a Chinese wife.
Perhaps no truer words were ever spoken, at least about some Chinese women. In fact, to my mind, Chinese ladies seem to come in two basic varieties. Either they are very strong willed or extremely docile. Since I've never had any desire for a docile woman, I am discussing here that other type - "the steel rod swathed in flowers". This woman will care for you, cook for you, keep a great home for you and shower you with love and affection, and she will smote your enemies with the strength of God - so long as you don't cross her. But when you cross her, you immediately become your own worst enemy, and brother, then she will smote you.
The big problem is that you don't necessarily know what will be seen as having crossed her. In your innocent Western thinking you naively believe that so long as you are faithful and true, so long as you bring home the bacon, so long as you are polite and courteous and so long as you refrain from anything drastic like not coming home for two nights, or physically striking her, you should be pretty safe. Well surprise!!!
You cross your Chinese Lady when you cause her to lose face, and there are roughly a million ways to cause her to lose face, each one of which you must learn by trial and error. I have learned a few, but it does little good for me to list them for you, because "a little knowledge is a bad thing". It will just make you comfortable when you should least be comfortable. But I will give you an example of how I caused my Chinese wife (as she then was) to lose face.
We owned a small bar in China at the time which we took turns managing, and which we kept open as long as there was a paying customer to serve. One night she went home at 1 AM but I hung in there with some friends of mine (because they were spending a great deal of money) until about 4 AM, then headed home when they did. We had both done this many times in the past, and she knew exactly where I was and who I was with, so I felt quite secure as I quietly unlocked the door to our home and tiptoed in to avoid waking her.
Well, it turned out that, unbeknownst to me, she and a friend had been talking earlier in the evening, and the friend had indicated that her husband never stayed out past 1 AM, and the friend was very proud of that. So on that particular evening I caused my wife to lose face by not coming home with her at 1 AM. I had caused her great shame in the eyes of her friend (how the friend knew I had stayed out late was never explained) and this was no small loss of face, if you can judge by the near bloodletting I suffered for my crime. And yet, the next time I stayed out late, in the same circumstances except for the intervening friend, all was well. Go figure!
The good news is that unlike Western Women, who will make you pay for days (or years) for your crimes, Chinese women tend to let you off as soon as you've appropriately groveled (this must take place in your home, which is actually her domain, not yours) for an hour or two, and you've told her your sorry, and lastly, you've bought her a gift (do not forget about the ever important relationship saving gift). But if you want to get off without dismemberment, do not act as if you don't understand what you did wrong (even though you inevitably do not understand). Suck it up, admit your guilt, and promise never to do it again, even if you have no idea of what exactly it is that you will not do again, and life will be back to normal in short order.
And the really good news is that this "steel rod swathed in flowers", when you haven't just caused her to lose face, is like your own private bodyguard. Your little Chinese woman will be the greatest ally you could ever hope for. She will kill for you at the slightest provocation to your face - unless her Mother is the source of the threat to your dignity, in which case you probably just committed unfathomable another "face" crime yourself.
There, have you got it all figured out? No? Don't worry, Chinese women can be as frustrating as trying to figure the stock market, but it's their very unpredictability that is one of their greatest charms. I wouldn't spend the rest of my life with anybody else.

Harry Monk (nom de plume), much experienced with life in China, has had several long term relationships with both Western and Chinese women. He currently lives in China and is happily committed to a three year relationship with a beautiful Chinese lady.

So how about the nitty gritty details:

You will need a certificate of no impediment to marriage and its notarized translation, your passport, her hukou and her ID card and the photos. The photos are "official style" photos, kind of passport-like, of you and her together, any photo studio in China will do them, just tell them you want marriage certificate photos. Go to the local Civil Affairs Bureau, fill out the forms, hand over the (very small) fee, you're good to go. I've never heard of any visa or residence permit requirements, although I think you can assume quite safely that you must be legally in China. All legal requirements for medical tests have been abolished. If anybody tells you you need any medical test of any kind, they're wrong. Check the marriage law (my wife and I have a copy lying around somewhere) if you have any doubts- copies of all laws can be bought at Xinhua Bookstores.

The photos can be done at any photo shop in China. As an American, you'll be able to get the Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage at the US Embassy in Beijing and I believe any US consulate in China- the State Dept will have a list of embassies and consulates and their contact details online, check it out- the rest, I think, should be fairly simple. Get your passport from whereever it is Americans get passports, get your visa from your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate.

Except, of course, that there will likely be one particular branch of the Civil Affairs Bureau/Minzheng Ju/民政局 in your special woman's hometown which handles marriages between Chinese and foreigners. Ask her to check up on that. Also, your Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage will need to be translated- that's a notarised translation, so your special woman will not be able to do the translation herself- but the local Civil Affairs Bureau should be able to recommend a local, qualified translator- again, ask her to check up on that.

Her hometown is important- you will only be able to marry your special woman in the city in which her Household Registration/Hukou/户口 is registered.

That's all the advice I can think of. I know, it seems like a lot of hassle, but break all of this down into several smaller tasks and it becomes manageable.

And here's another post from the same forum:

Always remember; marriage to a woman from China, is more than just about the 'process' and the filing of documents and paperwork. Marriage to anyone outside of one's own ethnicity/culture is not something to be entered into quickly, or casually. There can be many rewards on many levels with a cross ethnic/cultural union. However, it takes a lot of mutual understanding, patience, sensitivity, maturity, respect and depth of communication. Any relationship between a man and a woman, requires a lot of work on both parts. When you add cultural and language differences to the equation, the challenges therein, become that much greater.

When it is good, it can be very good. When it is not so good, it can be very bad for both individuals.

My relationship with Lao Po is a full-time job. It will always be my full-time job; because she is that important to me. My life is forever changed by this incredible woman from China. I am very fortunate in this regard.

More advice against (this shows more about the people who made this video):

And to find your Chinese bride (does this sound like mail-order brides?)
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Thanks for the vicarious tour! I'm as interested in the contrast of characterless city with idyllic parkland as in the beautiful sites themselves.

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Very interesting post!

Chinese women are very attractive. There are thousands ways of finding Chinese women. This site is an example as it offers many top Asian dating sites and for sure you will get in touch with a princess soon.

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