China: Husband of viral bride trafficking survivor jailed

China: Husband of viral bride trafficking survivor jailed

  • Published on
    April 10, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage, Law & Policy, Survivor Stories
Hero Banner

A Chinese court has sentenced six people to jail in connection with a bride trafficking case that sparked outrage across the country and around the world last year. Activists are now calling for tougher penalties to deter against this crime.

Xiaohuamei’s nightmare

The case first made headlines in January 2022 when a vlogger found the victim, a woman in her 40s called Xiaohuamei, living in a hut with a chain around her neck in a remote village in Jiangsu province, China.

The court later heard that Xiaohuamei had been abducted as a teenager from her hometown and sold to a farmer the equivalent of around $600. A year later, she was sold on to a couple who eventually sold her to the father of the man who would torture and abuse her for over twenty years.

Her husband and abuser, Dong, forced Xiaohuamei to have eight children. In 2017, he moved her into an outdoor hut where he kept her tied up, denying her meals, medical care and access to water and electricity.

Although Xiaohuamei was reportedly capable of taking care of herself and communicating with others when she first arrived at Dong’s house, her schizophrenia worsened during her ordeal. 

Was justice served?

When the case first went viral, local authorities dismissed trafficking allegations, using Xiaohuamei’s mental illness and the excuse of marital conflict to justify the conditions in which her husband kept her.

But ensuing public outrage on social media led the police to launch a criminal investigation and to Dong eventually receiving a jail sentence of nine years for his crime.

News of the verdict was not received well on social media platform Weibo, where most users felt that the sentence was too lenient. “It’s her whole life, but just nine years for him,” one user said, according to BBC News.

Xiaohuamei’s story has ignited calls for legal reform in China, including introducing harsher sentences for bride trafficking as a means of deterring buyers and traffickers.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rosemary Graham-Gardner
Rosemary Graham-Gardner
10 months ago

Nobody has the right to imprison anyone and should serve severe penalties for doing so…

This week

Passing of CSDDD blocked – human rights in danger

What could have been a day to celebrate, has turned into a day full of disappointment. On February 28, 2024, the European Council blocked the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) after the vote had been postponed due to insufficient support, as reported by Reuters. Thirteen out of the 27 member states voted against the law or abstained from the vote, leaving the ‘qualified majority' of 15 countries short of one. A timeline of

| Wednesday February 28, 2024

Read more