Economist: Let Chinese Men Share Wives

His idea goes viral, gets pushback
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2015 12:55 PM CDT
Economist: Let Chinese Men Share Wives
The Nanjing pedestrian street is crowded by holidaygoers on the first day of a week-long National Day holidays in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Thanks to its one-child policy and a cultural preference for boys, males outnumber females in China by about 117 boys born for every 100 girls—and by 2020, the nation is predicted to have about 30 million bachelors (referred to as "guanggun," or "bare branches"). What to do? Xie Zuoshi, an economics professor at Zhejing University of Finance and Economics, recently suggested that men be allowed to marry each other ... or share wives. That latter suggestion sparked such an uproar that Xie removed his original blog post about it, the New York Times reports. Xie's reasoning for his polyandry proposal: Rich men have the advantage over poor men in terms of being able to find a wife, so men who aren't as well off should be allowed to pool their resources and share a woman.

On his blog, Xie insisted the notion was "not just my weird idea. In some remote, poor places, brothers already marry the same woman, and they have a full and happy life." And, in fact, polyandry has been practiced in China, typically in poor areas, the Times notes (Shanghaiist notes that was in the 18th and 19th centuries). But that didn't stop the outrage from pouring in, leading Xie to publish a rebuttal blog Sunday. "Your morality will lead to 30 million guanggun with no hope of finding a wife," he wrote. "Is that your so-called morality?" He has also argued that rape and sexual assault could be consequences of so many men without wives, the South China Morning Post reports. But some women are decrying the idea of being treated like "commodities," while others have pointed out that the bigger problem is the "baby girls who died due to sex discrimination." (Click to see how China's one-child policy recently changed.)

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