Chinese websites are advertising Vietnamese women for sale as brides.
"Most Vietnamese girls we introduce are virgins between 18-23 years of age, beautiful, and educated," boasted Chinese website www.yndear.com.
www.ynxnw.com said "Vietnamese women love husbands, work hard, know housework and are independent," while another Chinese website said: "Vietnamese women only need a happy life, and they will commit themselves to building a family with a strange man."
The websites show photos of Vietnamese women and help arrange meetings with the women and brokerages.
The sites also provide information on the official marriage process in Vietnam and problems with trans-border marriages.
According to instructions on www.yndear.com, customers looking for Vietnamese wives pay the website 35,000 Yuan (US$51,300) for the marriage, which includes the brokerage fee, the costs of a wedding party in Vietnam, wedding cars, photos, videos and health check-ups for both sides before marriage. The fee also pays for passports and visas for the brides and payment to the Vietnamese matchmaker.
The husband pays his own travel and must also buy gifts for his new inlaws. The gitfs are usually given in cash between $150-1,200.
Tourism from China like www.wordwife.com or www.travel.haoyii.com also offer marriage facilitation services and have arranged for many Chinese men to visit Vietnam and find wives.
In April 2009, reports on www.chinanews.com.cn said that six-day marriage brokerage tours from China to Vietnam had been advertised online as costing 20,000 Yuan. The ads promised that the tours would end with a Vietnamese virgin wife to bring home three months later.
Operators of the tours also guaranteed customers that they would provide a new wife if the selected bride ran away within a year of the set up, the reports said.
But the news source also said some of the ads were scams.
Groups running the ads listed the addresses of their representative offices in Hanoi, but an investigation by Thanh Nien found that the addresses were fake.
On May 10, 20 Vietnamese wives in Jiangxi went missing.
Chinese investigators said they suspected the husbands had been cheated by con artists who posed as tourism firms and marriage brokers.
Brokering marriages for profit is illegal in Vietnam, where matchmaking can only be conducted by non-profit centers run by provincial women's associations and charities.
Nguyen Quoc Cuong, an official from Vietnam Ministry of Justice, said marrying a foreigner was a real and normal demand in Vietnam. But women's associations have not attracted many people, leaving them to be lured by illegal brokerage instead, he said.
Several studies have revealed that the number of Vietnamese women marrying foreigners, mostly from East Asian countries, has surged in the past decade.
Many of those marriages, arranged through unauthorized matchmakers, resulted from the women's desire to have a better life and help their destitute families in rural areas.