A WOMAN in northern China was sold into marriage twice within days – despite dying weeks earlier.
Her family opted to sell her body for a “ghost marriage” – a macabre union designed to prevent deceased bachelors from wandering the afterlife alone. They received 35,000 yuan ($5560), a large sum in China’s still-poor rural areas.
But the deal turned sour just days later for the dead woman’s new family, when robbers raided the grave and removed the bride’s body.
Police caught a gang of five body snatchers, accusing them of carrying out the forced elopement after being offered 30,000 yuan from the family of a dead bachelor in another town.
China’s Communists attempted to stamp out many traditions such as “ghost marriages” after taking control in 1949, but they gradually regained popularity in recent years.
Now, a thriving underground “ghost marriage” industry exists in some parts of the country, ranging from cadaver brokers and matchmakers for the dead to body snatchers, crooked undertakers and grave robbers.