Chinese wedding rite turns ugly as escaping bridegroom hit by car

  • Friends strip and beat bridegroom Ai Guangtao, 24, in a wedding hazing ritual until he runs onto a highway to escape
  • Ai was struck by a vehicle. He was later diagnosed with a skull fracture and bleeding inside the brain
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 4:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 8:25pm

A bridegroom in southern China has suffered multiple injuries after being hit by a car while escaping from a wedding hazing, a traditional – and notorious – rite in China that in many cases ends in violence.

Ai Guangtao, 24, his body covered with ink and wearing only his underwear, ran on to a highway near his home on his wedding day over the weekend to get away from his friends when the accident happened, according to the Guiyang Evening News.

Ai was on his way from his bride’s home to his own on Sunday when he was hit, according to his family.

As part of the wedding revelries, which are meant to create a fun, carnival atmosphere, Ai’s friends threw eggs at him, poured beer and ink on him, tied him up with plastic tape to an electric power pole and beat him with a strip of bamboo.

He escaped on to the highway to take a short cut home when he could no longer tolerate the treatment, his aunt Chen Xiaomin was quoted as saying.

“Just looking at it was painful. He was then forced into a dead corner beside the highway and had nowhere else to go,” Chen said.

Ai was hit by a passing car immediately after jumping over a fence on to the busy highway.

Chen and a few friends stopped a passing ambulance which took Ai to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture and bleeding inside the brain.

“Those who took part in the wedding hazing were all Ai’s good friends. But it hurt the entire family as a joyful occasion turned into a tragedy,” Chen said.

Has wedding hazing crossed the line into violence in China?

The family has not taken legal action against the troublemakers, she added, although they have admitted blame and contributed more than 6,000 yuan (US$860) towards his medical fees.

The tradition of wedding hazing dates back thousands of years and was originally intended to expel evil spirits. It remains popular in many parts of China, despite widespread criticism that the practice has devolved into humiliation and even violence.

Bridegrooms are not the only victims. Often the bride is forced to mime sexual acts with the groom, while bridesmaids endure sexual harassment including touching. In some cases, even the bridegroom’s parents become the target of practical jokes – being forced to wear humiliating costumes, for example.

In many cases, newlyweds and their parents choose to tolerate the behaviour, even when the hazers cross a line, so as not to ruin what is supposed to be a joyous occasion.