Advertisement

“Back Home, It Would Have Been Worse Anyway…”: Vietnamese Wives’ Perspectives on Their ‘Arranged’ Marriages with Chinese Men

  • Caroline Grillot
Chapter

Abstract

Drawing on material collected since 2006 in two Sino-Vietnamese border twin cities, this chapter confronts the definition of slavery and its modernized form ‘human trafficking.’ It provides historical evidence of various local forms of human exchanges for the sake of military strategy, human settlement and social reproduction that have inevitably commodified women. Life accounts of Vietnamese women involved in contemporary forms of coerced marriage support the idea that slavery, or human trafficking, remains a political category from which individuals navigate their way out, by giving their fate an intimate meaning. They blur the distinction between the coercive and emancipative aspects of their marital life, an ambiguity that blows away the definition of ‘slavery’ since it often ignores personal agency and cultural interpretation of human fate.

Keywords

Cross-border marriage Human trafficking Coerced marriage Agency Slavery 

References

  1. Baudrit, A. (2008). Bétail Humain. La traite des femmes et des enfants en Indochine et en Chine du sud, suivi de onze documents sur l’esclavage (1860–1940). Textes réunis et présentés par N. Lainez & P. Le Roux. Paris: Connaissances et Savoirs.Google Scholar
  2. Constable, N. (2006). Brides, Maids, and Prostitutes: Reflections on the Study of “Trafficked” Women. Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 3(2), 1–25.Google Scholar
  3. Cooper, T. T. (1870–1871). On the Chinese Province of Yunnan and Its Border. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 15(3), 163–174.Google Scholar
  4. Fiskesjö, M. (2011). Slavery as the Commodification of People: Wa “Slaves” and Their Chinese “Sisters”. Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, 59, 3–18.Google Scholar
  5. Ford, M., Lyons, L., & van Schendel, W. (Eds.). (2012). Labour Migration and Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia: Critical Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Grillot, C. (2010). Volées, Envolées, Convolées… Vendues, en fuite ou re-socialisées: les “fiancées” vietnamiennes en Chine. Paris: Connaissances et Savoirs. Google Scholar
  7. Grillot, C. (2012). Between Bitterness and Sweetness, When Bodies Say It All: Chinese Perspectives on Vietnamese Women in a Border Space. Journal of Vietnamese Studies, 7(1), 106–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grillot, C. (2015). The Creation of a Nonexistent Group: Sino-Vietnamese Couples in China’s Borderlands. Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, 15(15), 30–56.Google Scholar
  9. Grillot, C., & Zhang, J. (2017). Ambivalent Encounters: Business and the Sex Markets at the China-Vietnam Borderland. In P. Nyíri & D. Tan (Eds.), How Chinese Engagements Are Changing Southeast Asia: People, Money, Ideas and Their Effects (pp. 143–168). Seattle and London: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  10. Jaschok, M. (1994). Chinese “Slave” Girls in Yunnan-Fu: Saving (Chinese) Womanhood and (Western) Souls, 1930–1991. In M. Jaschok & S. Miers (Eds.), Women and Chinese Patriarchy: Submission, Servitude and Escape (pp. 171–197). Hong Kong, London and New Jersey: Hong Kong University Press, Zed Books Ltd.Google Scholar
  11. Jaschok, M., & Miers, S. (1994). Introduction. In M. Jaschok & S. Miers (Eds.), Women and Chinese Patriarchy: Submission, Servitude and Escape (pp. 1–24). Hong Kong, London and New Jersey: Hong Kong University Press, Zed Books Ltd. Google Scholar
  12. Jones, G. W. (2012). International Marriage in Asia: What Do We Know, and What Do We Need to Know? (Working Paper, No. 174). Singapore: National University of Singapore, Asia Research Institute. Google Scholar
  13. Kim, M. (2010). Gender and International Marriage Migration. Sociology Compass, 4(9), 718–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lessard, M. (2009). “Cet Ignoble Trafic”: The Kidnapping and Sale of Vietnamese Women and Children in French Colonial Indochina, 1873–1935. French Colonial History, 10, 1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Phung, V. T. [Vũ Trọng Phụng]. (2006). The Industry of Marrying Europeans (T. Tranviet, Trans.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Google Scholar
  16. Reid, A. (1983). Introduction: Slavery and Bondage in Southeast Asian History. In A. Reid (Ed.), Slavery, Bondage and Dependency in Southeast Asia (pp. 1–43). St Lucia, London and New York: University of Queensland Press.Google Scholar
  17. Slote, W. H. (1998). Destiny and Determination: Psychocultural Reinforcement in Vietnam. In W. H. Slote & G. A. DeVos (Eds.), Confucianism and the Family (pp. 311–328). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  18. Watson, J. L. (1980). Transactions in People: The Chinese Market in Slaves, Servants, and Heirs. In J. L. Watson (Ed.), Asian and African Systems of Slavery (pp. 223–250). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Watson, J. L. (1998). China. In S. Drescher & S. L. Engerman (Eds.), A Historical Guide to World Slavery (pp. 149–152). New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Grillot
    • 1
  1. 1.Lyon Institute of East Asian StudiesLyonFrance

Personalised recommendations