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Online International Marriage Hoax Warned
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China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday warned its citizens to be cautious of online brokers who arrange international marriages, saying the number of "mail-order brides" that find themselves trapped in unhappy marriages continue to increase.

A number of Chinese women have been hooked by online "matchmakers", and then travel abroad and blindly rush into marriage, only to be victimized by domestic violence. Some have even lost their lives, said the ministry.

On Nov. 28th, a woman surnamed Chen sued an online international marriage broker after it provided false information and conned her into marrying a jobless, ill-tempered divorced British man.

Chen asked to be reimbursement the 20,000 yuan (US$2,564) she paid for the service fee.

Dreaming of living a high life, Ziling, a 29-year-old girl from Shanghai's suburbs, married a Japanese four years ago, only to find her 15-year-old husband was a hot-tempered farmer living in north Hokkaido, reported the Legal Times recently.

"Women should be fully prepared before they marry, and they should use only reliable, legitimate marriage brokers," said Zeng Weilong, a researcher with the Institute of Social Development Studies of the Wuhan University, central China's Hubei Province.

The ministry suggested its citizens contact local Chinese embassies and consulates for help if they have been conned into marriage.

(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2006)

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