Three people in northern China have been detained on suspicion of stealing a corpse to sell as a bride in the ancient Chinese rite of ghost weddings.
The main suspect, a man aged 72, said he had heard about the death of a young woman in a nearby village in Shanxi province and thought of selling the corpse to relatives of single dead men.
The practice joins single people who have died for a belated marriage in the afterlife.
The main suspect and two accomplices pretended to be relatives of the woman and negotiated a sale price of 25,000 yuan (€3,460) with a buyer, Xinhua cited police in Ruicheng county as saying. However, villagers grew suspicious and alerted police.
The practice of afterlife matrimony extends back centuries and occasionally happens in poor rural areas where people are superstitious and believe in an afterlife, said Xu Keqian, a professor of Chinese language and culture at Nanjing Normal University.
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