Wanted: Chinese translator to help Ethiopian woman escape unhappy marriage


An Ethiopian woman’s divorce in China has been delayed for at least a month because she cannot find a translator to help her complete the process, Chinese media reported.

The woman, only identified as Sasa, does not speak Mandarin and has lived in Chengdu, Sichuan province, since August. She married a Chinese man, Wei, in a shotgun wedding on September 27, Chengdu Economic Daily said.

She has been unable to officially divorce her husband because Chengdu’s civil affairs office requires foreigners to make a verbal statement of annulment in addition to signing divorce papers, the report said. The local government website does not explain why this is a requirement.

The couple met while Sasa was working with her cousin and cousin’s husband in a convenience store they owned. Although she was unable to communicate verbally, the 25-year-old agreed to marry Wei, who is seven years her senior.

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Sasa lived in the southwest China city for almost a month but struggled to adapt to life there, Chengdu Economic Daily quoted the cousin’s husband as saying.

She ate very little and this soon became a source of frustration for her husband, who said he cooked to her tastes.

After his offer of water was rebuffed on the third night of their marriage, Wei angrily told Sasa to “get out” in Mandarin. Wei thought she understood what he said as she seemed angry, the report said.

Sasa returned to her cousin’s house the next day, after another conflict with her husband over her refusal to eat beef jerky, it said. She has remained with her cousin since then.

As China’s ambitious international infrastructure plan, known as the “Belt and Road Initiative”, has poured billions into African nations, thousands of African immigrants have arrived in China to look for business opportunities. Most of them congregated in the eastern port city of Guangzhou, where more than 10,000 Africans were living as of February 2017, according to government figures.

Many have found it difficult to integrate, however, and a government adviser said that Africans who were in the city illegally posed an increased terrorism risk.

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