The Virginity Test

No, this is not a pre-marital quality assurance test.  This is just another land compensation case in China, as reported by Chongqing Evening News (via Wenxue City).

The place is Number Two Commune at Beichan village in Dazu County in Chongqing.  Half a month ago, the commune leader Luo Minhua called a meeting of all commune members to discuss the matter of how to distribute the lump sum of money that was given to the commune for land compensation.  The issue is just who is qualified to take a share of that money.  As with so many rural villages, a number of young people are now working in the cities, although their roots as well as residency (hukou) is still bound to the village.

So what happened?

Some villager proposed that the girls who are working outside the village are not entitled to a share if they have husbands (or even just boyfriends) elsewhere.  This motion was in fact adopted at the meeting.  There were five young females who are working in the cities, and so Luo Minhua demanded that they return to the village and undergo virginity tests.  If they are still virgins, they will be entitied to their share of more than 4,000 yuan; if they are no longer virgins, then they are 'screwed' out of their money.

22-year-old Tan Shuying is a commune resident who went to work in Beijing three years ago.  Her mother was none too thrilled to have to ask her daughter to come back.  Sure, 4,000 yuan is a considerable sum of money.  But if Tan Shuying should decide not to come back, then the whole village will assume the worst about her personal morals.  So as ridiculous as Tan Shuiying thought this was, she had to come back.

25-year-old Tan Yufang is a worker in a clothing store in the county seat, and she also received the notice to appear for the examination.  Her father said that the village cadres claimed that his 25-old-year daughter should have married someone by that age already, and so she will have to be examined.

On the day before yesterday, our reporter interviewed commune leader Luo Minhua in person about this matter.  48-year-old Luo acknowledged that the commune discussed the issue of virginity tests for all female migrant workers over the age of 20, of which there are five people.  "The main issue is that the commune leaders think that they might be married, but they did not change their residence (hukou) because they want to continue to enjoy the benefits of this commune."

According to the plan, Luo was readyto escort the five females for their examination at the family planning clinic.  "For all those who are verified to be virgins, they will receive every cent of the share and the commune will pay for their travel expenses.  If they are found not to be virgins, the commune will give them nothing."

According to Luo, there are 286 persons in the commune.  The test will be given only to the five females who are working outside, and is not required of girls who are studying outside the village.  The test results will be announced at a meeting of commune members, who will decide.  He emphasized that everything is in accordance with the "village rules," which states that women married to outsiders are not entitled to commune benefits.  [Blogger's note: It is redundant to point out that there is no virginity test for men]

           Reading the village rules

The reporter spoke to a party cadre in Dazu County, and he said that it was illegal for this commune to conduct a "virginity test" and it should be rectified immediately.  Some of the "village rules" are in conflict with the existing laws, and so there needs to be more base-level education about the legal system.

We also spoke to Zhou Rongqiang, a lawyer.  Zhou believes that the collectivized land of the commune is the property of the entire commune, and each member of the commune is entitled to his/her share of the land compensation.  As to whether someone is a virgin or even married or not, it is completely illogical and absurd.  Furthermore, it is an invasion of privacy to publicly announce whether these females are virgins or not.

Additional reading:  Just in case that people in Hong Kong get smug about the backwardness in China, they can read Inheritance Rights of Indigenous Women of the New Territories by Christine Loh.  It was not until 1994 that women in the New Territories obtained land inheritance rights.