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Did a Man in China Sue His Wife For Being Ugly?

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Various reports and circulating messages claim that a man in China sued his wife for being ugly and won the case to the tune of $120,000. 

Brief Analysis

The story has been published as true by a number of news outlets. However, it is possible that the story is actually a hoax.  Although it has recently garnered a good deal of media attention, the story actually goes back to at least 2004 and was reportedly first posted by a Chinese news outlet with a history of publishing false and unverified stories. And, an image that is claimed to depict the family in question was actually taken from an unrelated advertisement for plastic surgery.

Example

A Chinese man has divorced and sued his wife after discovering she’d had plastic surgery before they met. Jian Feng, 38, was said to have been horrified when she gave birth to an ugly baby daughter. He suspected her of having an affair.

His wife then confessed to having plastic surgery in South Korea before they met and showed him a picture of how she used to look.

He filed for divorce two years after marrying her following a whirlwind romance.

Man Sues Wife for Being Ugly Story

 

Detailed Analysis

A story circulating vigorously via social media and the blogosphere claims that a man in China sued his wife for being ugly and was awarded $120,000 after the court found in his favour.

According to the story, the man was horrified when his wife gave birth to an “incredibly ugly” child and at first suspected that she was having an affair. Later, the wife confessed that she had extensive plastic surgery before they met. Thus, the man sued and divorced her for getting him to marry her under false pretenses.

Or so the story goes.

But, in fact, the claims have never been properly verified and there are indications that the story could possibly be a hoax. The story has recently been picked up by several news outlets and published as truth.  However, the veracity of the tale is increasingly in doubt and at least some of these news outlets have now backtracked.

Despite the recent media attention, the story actually goes back to 2004
It appears that the story may have been first aired by China’s Heilongjiang Morning Post, a publication with a record for shoddy journalism and posting false or unverified information. The paper was forced to apologise in October 2013 after it published a report claiming that a man arranged a date with his online girlfriend only to find that the girl was his own daughter-in-law. Later investigations revealed that the story was just a hoax.

It seems that all later media reports about the man suing his wife for being ugly were derived from this original 2004 Heilongjiang Morning Post story.

Moreover, some current incarnations of the story feature a photograph that supposedly depicts the man and his wife with not one, but three children. Given that the man supposedly divorced his wife after she produced the first “ugly” offspring, one wonders how the other two youngsters fit in.

It turns out that the family portrait has no connection to the described case. In fact, it was lifted from a rather cruel ad for plastic surgery that was aired in Taiwan.   A May 2012 Rocket News 24 article discussing the image notes:

[T]his picture is an ad for a plastic surgery center in Taiwan, and you can see that the children in the picture don’t look like their parents at all. The ad features the line, “The only thing you have to worry you about after plastic surgery is the explaining you’ll have to do to your children.”

Other unverified images reportedly depicting “before and after” shots of the wife and of the “ugly” daughter, have also been attached to various incarnations of the story.

The bottom line? Right now, there is not enough credible information to say that the story is true. Or that it is a hoax for that matter. But, given the decided lack of verifiable details, I’d suggest that this story should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer