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Chinese Woman Hit By FIL For Visiting Her Parents: When Will This Bias End

A Chinese married woman, who hadn't visited her own parents in three years, was taken aback when her enraged father-in-law allegedly slapped her. The incident is a stark reminder of paraya dhan mentality that many Indian women endure

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Rudrani Gupta
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In a shocking incident, a Chinese woman was slapped in the face by her father-in-law because she wanted to visit her parents during the Lunar New Year. The woman surnamed Zhou, belongs to southwestern Guizhou province and married a man who hailed from Anhui province in eastern China. In the three years of her marriage, she had seen her parents only once. 

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China has a culture that after marriage women must consider their husband's family as their own. It was because of this ingrained culture that Zhou's father-in-law reacted the way he did. 

When Zhou said that she wanted to visit her parents during the Lunar New Year, her father-in-law vehemently denied it and said, "A married daughter is like spilt water. Stop always thinking about visiting your family.” 

The abusive behaviour of the father-in-law appalled Zhou who was never hit by anyone. She burst into tears. Initially, her husband supported his father and said that he never raises his hand on a woman. He is just emotional and his blood pressure is high, he added. 

Zhou's husband supported her

However, Zhou was not convinced and discussed it with her husband and made him look at her despair. She made him understand that she always cares for his family and even spends so much money on them. 

“They take everything for granted,” Zhou said.

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Understanding her situation, Zhou's husband planned to move back to the place where Zhou's family lived. He sold his flat and took a new one in Zhou's hometown. 

The video clip of this incident went viral on the mainland social media. People are divided about the incident. Some believe that the father-in-law was wrong- even traditional -in his behaviour. However, others said that Zhou must be devoted to her husband's family and not her own.

The situation in Indian society: Women are seen as paraya dhan 

The incident reminds us of the situation in our society too where women are expected to take care of their marital family and forget about their responsibilities towards the paternal family. In our society, women are labelled as paraya dhan which means they don't belong to their parents, but to their in-laws. But do in-laws consider them as their own? Unfortunately not. 

Even after years of marriage, women are treated as outsiders in their marital homes. They are blamed for every change, mishap or fight that happens in the family. No matter how much they devote themselves to serving the marital family, women always remain the ones who come from another family. When it comes to serving the in-laws, the married women are constantly reminded about their duties and even pulled up if something goes wrong. But when it comes to making important decisions about the family or inheritance, they are always considered last. 

So where do women belong? Whom should they consider as their family who will think about their betterment? Or are women born to just work and expect nothing in return? 

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Need to unlearn biased culture

Let us remind ourselves that women belong to both marital and paternal families. They have rights over both families. Just because a woman is married, it doesn't mean she is separated from her parents. Just like men, women too have responsibilities towards their parents. 

In Zhou's case, her father-in-law was wrong for both stopping her from visiting her parents and projecting abusive behaviour towards her. No matter what the culture says, we need to widen our mindsets according to the time and age. We cannot blindly follow the culture even if it is discriminatory.  

Views expressed are the author's own. 

china paraya dhan marital family paternal family
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