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Wife-sharing: An Idea to Help Bachelors in China

Ling Jueding (C) poses for a photo with his best men before his wedding ceremony at a park in Beijing, June 2015. (REUTERS)

Ling Jueding (C) poses for a photo with his best men before his wedding ceremony at a park in Beijing, June 2015. (REUTERS)

An economics professor in China has suggested that Chinese men share their wives with men who can’t find their own.

This idea comes from Xie Zuoshi, a professor at the School of Economics and International Trade at Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics. Mr. Xie says China has a population imbalance between men and women. This imbalance, he adds, has left about 30 million adult men without wives.

Mr. Xie said, “If we stick to the moral idea of monogamy, we would be condemning 30 million men to a life of misery without wives and children.”

His call for wife-sharing brought him lots of criticism. Tens of thousands criticized his idea in social media. They say Mr. Xie’s proposal is immoral and an insult to women.

A teacher in Beijing, Yu Baoyu, says the professor is treating woman as if they are a product that a husband can share or rent. This teacher adds, “I am surprised he has the audacity,” or nerve, to say such things in public.

Others said online that if Mr. Xie thinks it is such a good idea, he should share his own wife.

However, Mr. Xie is a professor of economics and is looking at the numbers. He says his idea is meant mostly for low-income families. Most of the men unable to find wives, he adds, do not make much money.

Mr. Xie says those who criticize him are missing his moral point -- that 30 million bachelors are in a difficult situation.

Many blame China’s one-child policy for the imbalance in China’s male-to-female ratio. Chinese officials have recently begun the process of changing China's one-child policy.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Saibal Dasgupta reported on this story for Bruce Alpert adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck edited the story.

What do you think of Professor Xie’s wife-sharing idea? Let us know in the Comments section or on our Facebook page. Or, simply practice with some of the Lesson Words, like “moral” and “audacity.”


Words in This Story

moral – adj. concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior (opposite is immoral)

monogamy – n. the state or practice of being married to only one person at a time : the state or practice of having only one sexual partner during a period of time

condemn – v. to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong

misery – n. extreme suffering or unhappiness

insult – v. to do or say something that shows a lack of respect for (someone)

audacity – n. bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints

ratio – n. the relationship that exists between the size, number, or amount of two things and that is often represented by two numbers

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