A business tycoon in Hong Kong is offering HK$500 million ($65 million U.S.) to any man that can woo his lesbian daughter into marriage.
Cecil Chao Sze-tsung started splashing the cash around when daughter Gigi Chao, who currently resides in France, reportedly entered a PACS with her long-term female partner.
The 75-year-old businessman has reportedly refused to believe the reports that his daughter, who runs public relations and marketing company Haut Monde Talent, has pledged herself already — something that 33-year-old Gigi Chao also seems reluctant to confirm.
Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, described by his daughter as a usually hands-off parent, has said that with this offer he wants to find a caring man for his daughter.
“It is an inducement to attract someone who has the talent but not the capital to start his own business,” Mr Chao said.
“I don’t mind whether he is rich or poor. The important thing is that he is generous and kind-hearted.
“Gigi is a very good woman with both talents and looks. She is devoted to her parents, is generous and does volunteer work.”
Cecil Chao has said, however, that he will not force his daughter to marry against her wishes. He has though apparently been “swamped” with offers, some of them perhaps rather ironic.
The Herald Sun reports one Frenchman wrote to Cecil Chao vowing: “I’m really serious and (despite the fact) I am a man I think I can make this woman happy. I’m as soft as a woman.”
Another man reportedly offered to bring with him a third, erm, business partner for the deal, saying, “I will win his daughter’s heart and marry her, and my Maid Marian, a gorgeous Brazilian model, will help accomplish that with me.”
However, while originally Gigi Chao had said she was “amused” by her father’s offer, that amusement seems to have vanished. She has reportedly lamented as “seriously distracting” this now worldwide attention, reportedly saying ”I am secretly praying for a blackout … so that I can get some peace and quiet.”
She has even taken to Facebook to call on Cecil Chao to drop the so-called bounty, pleading, ”For your family’s sanity’s sake, Daddy please rescind the notice!!!!”
Hong Kong itself does not recognize same-sex marriages but did decriminalize homosexuality in 1991, quite ahead of the rest of China.
China, historically, has been rather more accepting of homosexuality than one might expect, but saw with the rise of Christian and Islamic influences same-sex love become a point of contention. Then, with the courting of Westernization by the Quing dynasty and the flowering of the Republic of China, homosexuality became a taboo.
Today, homosexuality is edited from television, and pride events have in recent years been raided and closed down. The government maintains a kind of neutrality policy whereby it is reluctant to condemn homosexuality but at the same time will not be seen to advocate for it either.
One young man speaking to the BBC for a larger piece on what it is like to be gay in China references this “a pressure of conformity” whereby he notes that China as a whole is more liberal and yet there is a persistent notion that homosexuality is something best not spoken of, and that heterosexuality and later marriage is what is to be expected from the adult population, something that connects to wider notions of family legacy.
Seen through this lens, Cecil Chao’s fervor to marry his daughter off seems doubly as sad because he may in fact be doing what he believes is best for his daughter. That of course doesn’t make it right.
It does, however, point to the need for China’s presiding authorities to take a clear stand in favor of LGBT rights, thus setting an example by which others might follow.