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Tongyangxi (traditional Chinese: 童養媳; simplified Chinese: 童养媳; pinyin: tóngyǎngxí), also known as Shim-pua marriage in Taiwanese (Chinese: 新婦仔; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: sin-pū-á or sim-pū-á), was a tradition of arranged marriage dating back to pre-modern China, in which a poor family would sell a pre-adolescent daughter to a richer family as a servant. In exchange, the girl would be married into the adopted family when both children reached puberty. The girl then acts both as a daughter-in-law to the adoptive family and also as a free labourer. The girl was usually a few years older than the male child. Due to the lower class status of the girls, discrimination was often present, and slavery-like treatment was common.
A direct translation of "shim-pua" is simply "little daughter-in-law", while "tongyangxi" means "daughter-in-law raised from childhood."
These marriages were often unsuccessful. This has been explained as a demonstration of the Westermarck effect.
In China, the practice was outlawed by the Communist Party of China after they took over in 1949.
In Taiwan, shim-pua marriage fell out of practice in the 1970s due to increased wealth resulting from Taiwan's economic success, making such arrangements unnecessary.
Zhaozhui (Chinese: 招贅; pinyin: zhāozhùi or Chinese: 招婿 or 招翁; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: chio-sài or chio-ang) is a related custom by which a wealthy family that lacks an heir might take in a boy child, although such marriages usually involve a procreation-age male. Since these marriages required the husband entering the wife's household (contrary to traditional Chinese norms), they were relegated to a lower social status. During the Qing dynasty, these marriages became increasingly common to maintain inheritance bloodlines. The boy would take on the familial name of his new family, and typically would marry the family's daughter.
- Lin Yuju (2011). "Zhaozhui son-in-law". Encyclopedia of Taiwan. Council for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
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