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Title: Ghost brides and crime networks in rural China
Author(s): Lo, Tit Wing 
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Springer
Journal: Asian Journal of Criminology 
Volume: 17
Issue: 3
Start page: 371
End page: 389
The custom of ghost marriages has been passed down since the ancient times in China. Adults who died before marriage could not be buried with their ancestors. Their families did not want to leave bodies outside, as they believed that the spirits would become lonely. Instead, they wished to find husbands or wives for their dead relatives to continue the family tree. The custom has spawned a large ghost bride market, resulting in the trading of female corpses. This industry and its profits have driven criminals to kidnap and murder women, raid tombs and morgues, steal and traffic corpses. The study demonstrates that while in the folklore the stigma of being unmarried should apply to both men and women, the corpses trafficked are mainly women and in poorer provinces. While ghost marriages create a market of supply and demand in booming rural China, the market also indicates income and gender inequality behind the crime.
DOI: 10.1007/s11417-022-09367-6
CIHE Affiliated Publication: No
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