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InternationalChinese obsession with Ukrainian wives

Chinese obsession with Ukrainian wives

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Why do the Chinese want Ukrainian women for wives?

Following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, jokes about “sheltering homeless Ukrainian girls” began to spread rapidly on Chinese social media. But China’s obsession with “Ukrainian beauties” dates back a long way. This is what Vice says.

As Russia invaded Ukraine, bombing airports and apartment buildings, and people around the world watched the grim developments with bated breath, some Chinese thought of something else: Ukrainian beauties.

A joke on social media states that Chinese men would like to provide shelter for Ukrainians, but only if they are young, attractive and women.

Stereotypes about “Ukrainian beauties” have been around in the Chinese-speaking world for years. Online publications attribute the abundance of beautiful women in Ukraine to its climate and ethnic composition. At the Taobao shopping site, a man can pay about $ 30 to read a personalized birthday message from a group of Ukrainian women dressed in bunny costumes, although a salesman said the service is currently unavailable due to the war.

Meilishka, a dating service that specializes in bringing Chinese men closer to Eastern European women, says interest in Ukrainian girls has increased since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, from about five inquiries a day to nearly 10.

“Now there are a lot of clients who want Ukrainian girls,” Pavel Stepanets, the Russian who owns the business, told VICE World News. “These customers know that these Ukrainian girls are sad and would consider China a safe place. So the Chinese think these girls will consider looking for a Chinese husband. “

The interest in meetings with Ukrainian women is not unique to Chinese bachelors. Ukraine has a thriving Internet romance industry that connects Western men with Ukrainian women, a process called “brides in the mail.” The perception is that Ukrainian women are more beautiful, less feminist, and would now be willing to marry any average man to get out of a war-torn, economically stagnant country.

For Chinese men, the desire is exacerbated by the desire to be with blond, white women, seen as a symbol of both men’s personal success and China’s rising power.

The most striking example is May Icy, who gained national fame around 2014 after marrying a Ukrainian woman 12 years his junior. For many Chinese, May’s life is an enviable story of a working-class outsider winning a Caucasian woman.

May later started a dating club in Ukraine, charging Chinese men tens of thousands of dollars to connect them with Ukrainian women. In Douyin, China’s TikTok, May shared with the 1.6 million followers the couple’s life at their villa in Ukraine. Most of the videos focus on his wife, as the videos show her dancing, walking the catwalks and swimming in the pool, attracting a stream of jealous comments.

Stepanets launched his dating club in 2017 and charges men between 6,700 and 80,000 Chinese yuan ($ 1,060 to $ 12,700) to reunite with women from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus – women who can speak Mandarin and are more young and beautiful, they are usually “more expensive”. There are currently about 70 Chinese in the club, and according to Stepanets, about eight to nine couples have been married through the service since the club was founded.

Stepanets says the Chinese prefer Eastern European women because they are less demanding of wealth than the Chinese. Men are also striving to produce Caucasian-looking offspring, he said, which is why women with light hair and blue eyes are often preferred.

And among Slavic women, Stepanets said, Ukrainian women are the most sought after.

“Honestly, Ukrainian women are considered one of the most beautiful in the world,” he said. “Everyone knows that.”

While Chinese women who date foreigners are often accused of betraying their country, Chinese women are hailed as heroes because they marry foreign women and make them part of the nation.

The interest of Internet users to see Caucasian women learning Chinese, cooking Chinese food and meeting their Chinese parents-in-law has prompted many Sino-Ukrainian couples to start making this type of video.

Many Chinese complain that they cannot find a mate. China has a distorted gender balance due to many abortions, but also because Chinese women are now more educated and financially independent than before, which makes them reluctant to settle for an unhappy marriage.

“Demographically, there are millions of Chinese who can’t find their soul mate in China because of a one-child policy and an ingrained culture of preferring sons. They are struggling to find a partner, “said Pan Wang, who teaches Chinese and Asian studies at the University of New South Wales.

“At the same time, the distorted gender balance in Ukraine (more women than men) makes women want to find a husband outside Ukraine.”

While Caucasian wives are seen as trophies, non-white women – such as Southeast Asian wives – are often seen as a sign that the man is too poor to attract local or white women, Wang said.

Many Chinese women have expressed anger online over the joke about sheltering Ukrainian women. In a video released last week, a Chinese student in Ukraine said insensitive comments about “Ukrainian beauties” had contributed to anti-Chinese sentiment and endangered Chinese abroad.

Then social platforms, including Weibo, Douyin and WeChat, moved on to erasing jokes about Ukrainian women. State media say the vulgar remarks were made by only a few social networks, but have since been reinforced by anti-Chinese circles.

May, the influential man known for having a Ukrainian wife, closed his accounts after posting war videos that viewers said were not from Ukraine.

Elena Barabantseva, a scientist at the University of Manchester, says the Chinese began publishing jokes about “Ukrainian beauties” during the 2014 conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatist groups. In fact, Sino-Ukrainian couples remain rare and are often viewed with curiosity by audiences.

The Chinese government has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion and blamed the conflict on the US-led Western bloc. The Chinese Internet has become dominated by pro-Russian voices, and many people who support peace in Ukraine are silent.

Ukrainian influential people in China, some of whom are wives of Chinese men, are among the few voices to provide an alternative point of view.

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