Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Muslim women in the North-West

It seems Muslim girls in the North-West attend school and mix freely with boys when they are very young. They seem no different from other Chinese girls.

However, they tend to be married away by their parents while they are very young, and most likely before they are 20. Hence, few Muslim women attend university. An unmarried Muslim woman is an oddity, attracting questions such as: What is wrong with her? Why didn’t someone marry her?

It seems a Muslim man can still have more than one wife, perhaps unofficially. The one child policy applies strictly to the Han, but Muslims can have two. A Hui man in his 30s told me he has 8 brothers and sisters, and he himself has 2 children. That implies the minorities could be growing twice as fast as the Han in mainland China - with huge implications on the demographics of China.

A man can divorce his wife easily. And a divorced wife often finds it difficult to survive on her own, hence she tends to remarry, ...

My wise friend who lives among Muslims has this to say about Muslim women in the North-West: “結婚是人生大事。 不結婚就大件事。 離婚是平常事。 再婚是必然的事。“

4 comments:

The Cat said...

I am assuming that the male-female ratio is still close to 1:1? In that case, where do they find all those women to marry (assuming that there is little Han-Hui intermarriage).

Unless there is a constant recycling (sorry for the term, can't find a better one) of divorcees...

StephenC said...

I don't know the answer. Certainly there is a lot of divorce and re-marriage. I heard that often a man would marry a divorced woman but refuse to take care of her children from the previous marriage.

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