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February 4, 2013

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Hiring fake paramour to meet family carries risks

HIRING someone as a pretend lover to take home for holidays has become a popular way for many young Chinese to cope with their parents' worries over their marriage plans and make older relatives happy.

But it can bring trouble when the business relationship accidentally becomes real.

Lu Yang, an Anhui Province native and white-collar worker in Shanghai, is consulting lawyers because he wants to get rid of the "girlfriend" he hired to please his parents for last year's Spring Festival.

Lu hired the girlfriend, Guo Liu, via an online posting as his parents urged him to get married and threatened to arrange blind dates in his hometown.

Lu paid Guo 800 yuan (US$128) a day to be his fake girlfriend on the condition that he could hug her and hold her hand without any further bodily contact. The contract was valid for a week. But Lu broke the contract on the last day when he became drunk and asked to have sex with Guo, who liked him and agreed.

Legal complications

Lu felt guilty the next day and asked Guo to be his real girlfriend. He bought an apartment in Shanghai and added Guo as a co-owner. The pair moved in, but soon began fighting.

"I felt guilty about what I did and I tried to make up for my mistake. But she is absolutely not the woman I want," Lu told Tan Fang, a Shanghai lawyer.

Lu wanted to see if Guo had the legal right to get half of the property even though he paid for it. Tan said Guo's share depends on her contribution to the house and the time they lived together. Generally, the compensation amount ranges from 10 percent to 30 percent of the house's current market value, according to a judicial interpretation of the Chinese Marriage Law.

Tan said hiring a make-believe lover is not a good choice. "The children shouldn't cheat their parents to gain a moment of peace. On the other hand, such a contract could trigger a lot of problems if one forces the other to have sex," Tan said.

Fake lovers for the holidays are offered on some websites. They offer services such as seeing relatives, chatting with elders or attending family dinners. The daily price with free food and accommodation ranges from 600 yuan to 2,000 yuan. Some, such as kissing or sleeping in the same bed, also can be arranged for extra, said Liu Yang, a part-time "lover.''

"The job brings in money fast as long as you have some acting talent. It is OK for men but a little dangerous for women."


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