Teenage girl flees forced marriage, rescued by police
A 16-year-old girl from Puge County in Sichuan Province, has fled from an arranged marriage after her parents demanded 260,000 yuan (US$ 37,803) as a bride price, according to a report by Xinhua news agency.
The girl, identified only as Xiaoku, left her hometown to seek job opportunities in Guangdong Province. However, the man who paid to marry her tracked her down and forcibly took her back to Sichuan with his family.
Xiaoku cried out to a police officer who found her hiding in a service station bathroom in Guangxi Province, saying, "My parents sold me to them."
A police investigation found that Xiaoku's parents had forced her into the marriage against her will.
As Xiaoku is a minor, the police in Tiandong County, Guangxi Province, contacted the local women's federation and civil affairs department for help. The girl was sent to the Tiandong County Juvenile Protection Center.
On February 17, Xiaoku's father and brother arrived at the center to take her back to Sichuan. However, the local women's federation tried to persuade Xiaoku's father to abandon the arranged marriage.
Under China's civil code, arranging a marriage and soliciting money from marriage are forbidden.
The law allows a forced marriage to be annulled within a year if the person's personal freedom is no longer restricted.
Xiaoku's family may have committed a crime by interfering with her freedom of marriage by using force. It is also illegal to fail to fulfill the obligation of protecting minors.
The incident has sparked outrage among netizens, who are concerned about Xiaoku's safety if she returns to Sichuan.
The Tiandong County Juvenile Protection Center has informed the civil affairs department in Sichuan, but they have not yet been contacted by the local police.