Four Funerals and a Wedding: Chinese Police Crackdown On “Ghost Weddings”

Divorce-Cakes-7It appears that something borrowed and something blue is often the same item in some marriages in China. Chinese police are dealing with a rather novel crime: people digging up corpses to be buried with dead bachelors. They are called “ghost marriages” and four men have been arrested in this bizarre criminal enterprise.


This unique form of crime is based on ancient rituals reaching back to the 17th Century of matching dead girls with dead bachelors so that will not be “lonely” in the afterlife. A Yanchuan county court in Yan’an City sentenced the men — Pang, Bai, He and Zhang — for stealing 10 female corpses, cleaning them, and then counterfeiting their records before selling them for a total of £25,000. It turns out that that series of criminal acts will get you just 2 years in China. Of course, organizing peasants to protest land seizures or fighting polluting state enterprises will put you away for years.

Families actually conduct ritual ghost marriages with the corpses. The new found wealth in China has led to a resurgence of the practice. Some families have been known to sell their dead daughters for such marriages. In one case, a family dug up their dead daughter to sell her. A graverobber then dug her up again for a second ghost marriage — reportedly at a lower price for a used corpse.

The article below reports that less affluent families are using dough brides or worse items as substitutes.

Given the long opposition of the government (since Mao) to the practice, it is clear that there is a missing deterrent. China’s underdeveloped private tort system may be one such contributor.

Source: SCMP

Kudos: Professor Don Clarke

38 thoughts on “Four Funerals and a Wedding: Chinese Police Crackdown On “Ghost Weddings”

  1. People should not be arrested for doing this. They should be taught that the dead do not communicate with anyone and that the souls in Gods kingdom nether marry nether are they given in marriage. Joseph gave his two wives to Esau as part of a large gift to Esau. They will stop doing it when they know this.

  2. gbk:

    Yep, a person never has peace, even after death, someone else always wants to take advantage.

  3. This practice was the basis for an episode of “Bones” called “The Boneless Bride in the River.”

  4. Nick,

    If you think you own your body…. It’s kind of like real estate…. You just have a better right to it til the government says else wise…..

  5. M.S.Huiner, It was the subject of another TV show episode also, a Law and Order ep from a couple of years ago, wherein women were being murdered for the ritual. I get all of my ‘news’ and history from Law and Order episodes LOL.

  6. OTOTOTOT Reply to GBK

    GBK, you seem to keep abreast of the copyright/trademark front. Good for you. It’s flying totally under the radar but is the new front in the corporatization of the justice/anti-terror industry. DHS and their subdivisions are now squarely in the thick of it having been given investigation and enforcement powers for all electronic fraud etc. The Secret Service, using their piece of that action had moved to take con troll of the Arron Schwartz case.

    Copyright and Trademarking is the new and, as it’s being practiced, perverse revenue stream for big-media and the troll industry. The corporate industries that have been working on 3D printing have begun copyrighting manufacturing concepts and what has been open-source programming/code writing schemes to freeze the independents out because now, $5,000 or less and a spare room allows a little guy to set up a manufacturing shop for niche markets. People have built their own printers for hundreds of dollars. What surprised me was how quickly the big guys jumped on the maker industry using copyright and trademark laws.

    There is a little movie titled “Branded” that is a twisted satire about the branding industry and it is a hoot. I recommend it highly along with “Antiviral”, the first movie by David Cronenberg’s son. (He’s going to do good things.) I saw them this last weekend. They are great ‘bookends’ for some of our most disturbing trends. Have a nice bottle of spiced rum (or whatever suits your fancy) on hand for “Branded”, it gets downright Yellow Submarine on your butt. Enjoy.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2099556/

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1368440/?ref_=sr_1

  7. AY, That is my libertarian souls worst nightmare. Pols both left and right are increasingly declaring eminent domain on our bodies.

  8. Nick,

    If we continue to take partisan sides…. That’s exactly where we will end up…. Kinda like a 401(k)…. Just as valuable as the government allows it to be…. If the money is inflated it is worth more… It’s realistically the biggest Ponzi scheme going…. Legally that is….

  9. The people that fear do not have God in their soul making their soul alive. A dead soul will fear making more dead bodies. God in the soul removes fear knowing the soul will never die. The one that kills is the loser.

  10. @gbk

    Despite the phrasing of your comment (for dramatic effect?), surely you know Mormons don’t baptize dead bodies?

  11. You are right. We are not our own. We are bought with a price. Jesus paid that price. God risked to be in the end in the devils jail had Jesus not done what God wanted him to do to the letter living in the body of Jesus.

  12. justpeachie,

    “@gbk

    Despite the phrasing of your comment (for dramatic effect?), surely you know mormons don’t baptize dead bodies?”

    From the horse’s mouth, justpeachie:

    http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/mormon/baptism/

    Now, do they exhume the bodies? No, they don’t. But I didn’t say the mormons, “baptize exhumed dead bodies,” now, did I?

    I said that they, “baptiz[e] the dead.” Which is exactly what they do, given the linked reference above. Maybe you should look at your own dramatic use of language and the implications of not paraphrasing correctly.

    And when you’re done with that exercise maybe you should consider what a sick and reprehensible perspective this belief represents.

  13. justpeachie,

    Sorry my link above is not “official.” Here’s one from the LDS themselves where they refer to this sick officiating as, “proxy baptism.”

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&sourceId=1ec52f2324d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____

    Amazingly the article is entitled: “Baptisms For The Dead.” Which isn’t too far removed from my phrase of, “baptizing the dead.”

    Get back to me when you can read, quote, paraphrase, and write at the same time.

  14. justpeachie,

    Let’s see if you can follow the logic that the LDS offers for their justification of proxy baptizims — aka baptizing the dead:

    “Some people have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed, deceased persons are baptized into the Church against their will. This is not the case. Each individual has agency, or the right to choose. The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to accept and follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world.”

    Read carefully, and note this hilarious snippet: “[t]he validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it . . .”

    This is all from my second link above, given again so you don’t get confused:

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&sourceId=1ec52f2324d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____

    Are you done laughing and shaking your head in wondering where your “agency” that the LDS refers to has gone to?

  15. justpeachie,

    The circular logic of the LDS just doesn’t stop:

    “Because He is a loving God, the Lord does not damn those people who, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity for baptism. He has therefore authorized baptisms to be performed by proxy for them.”

    OK, then. (Same link as given in the last two posts)

    Aw, how nice of them to consider my eternal fate. Will the LDS consider proxy mortgage payments for future baptizms? I hope so.

    As a matter of fact, I think I will offer my future proxy baptizm to them while I’m still alive — if they will cover some of my living expenses. Not every expense, of course, because this might tax god, but just some small expenses here and there. This seems fair to me.

  16. That means the Mormons practice familiar spirits communicating with the dead. KJV instructs us to not do that. King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    Leviticus 19:31,Regard not mediums, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)Isaiah 8:19:
    And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

  17. artiewhitefox,

    I love your copyright notification of the word of god:

    “King James 2000 Bible (©2003)”

    How polite of you.

  18. Lottakatz,

    “OTOTOTOT Reply to GBK
    GBK, you seem to keep abreast of the copyright/trademark front. Good for you. It’s flying totally under the radar but is the new front in the corporatization of the justice/anti-terror industry. DHS and their subdivisions are now squarely in the thick of it having been given investigation and enforcement powers for all electronic fraud etc. The Secret Service, using their piece of that action had moved to take con troll of the Arron Schwartz case.”

    Jeez, Lotta, I would have thought that you could differentiate between copyright trolls and honest protection of works. Guess not.

    I detect, in your post, an invalid conflation of corporate and/or government copyright abuses with the basic use of copyright — which is to allow the holder of said the distribution and use of said for a limited time period.

    It’s not so terribly hard to understand.

    Maybe you just flit around in life not creating anything of substance except your words on this blog, which is easy to do, and so have no understanding of the importance of copyright protection as it pertains to a common person.

    Create something, then try to protect it as is your legal right.

    Good luck.

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