By Michael Evans
While young people across China rented fake boyfriends and girlfriends for the Spring Festival, one Nanjing woman paid over 10,000 yuan to rent a mother for the holidays.
In mid-January, 42 year old Huang Juhong posted an ad on local Jiangsu web portal Longhoo.net, saying that she hoped to “use the power of the internet to rent an elderly person to act as my own mother.” The ad specified that the elderly woman must have been born on September 23, 1934, and be either childless or live away from her children.
In exchange for spending seven days celebrating the new year together, Huang offered a red envelope of 10,000 yuan, in addition to reimbursing travel expenses.
Speaking to local media, Huang’s relatives explained that her own mother had died several years ago, leaving her depressed, alone, and unable to sleep. Huang’s sister-in-law said that the whole family supported her decision to rent a mother for the new year, hoping it could bring her some comfort.
The online ad received hundreds of emailed replies and dozens of mailed letters, but in the end Huang chose one Tian Fengying, 80 years old and living in Xi’an. On January 30, Huang went with her sister-in-law to Xi’an, embracing “Mama Tian” with tears in her eyes, and offering several small gifts, along with the first cash payment.