Elderly Chinese whispers
20 February 2015
An amusing Chinese New Year's eve article in SCMP reports that a Chinese couple from Yuzhou, Henan Province, are China's oldest couple, aged 109 and 108, and have been married for 90 years. Journalist Alan Yu doesn't get around to naming them (personal data, perhaps), but mentions his source as Chinanews.com.
Mr Yu also remarks that they are both "older than the People's Republic of China (founded in 1949)". Yes, but so is anyone over the age of 66. What he was probably trying to say is that they are both older than the Republic of China, founded on 1-Jan-1912 (and exiled to Taiwan in 1949). Perhaps the sub-editors forbade the mention of the first republic of China.
Chinanews.com (English version) reports that the couple are Mr Ping Muhu (aged 109) and his wife Zhang Xinniu (aged 108) and have been married for 90 years, but they live in Guizhou Province, not Henan, about 1500km away from Yuzhou. A quick search finds a Yahoo article from 18-Nov-2014, stating that the couple were married in 1927, which means they have been married for 87 or 88 years, not 90, and they live in Yuzhou, Henan. Or somewhere like that. But of course, China likes to massage the data.
Mr Yu adds that the only other living couple who "come close" to being married that long are in Britain, linking to a Daily Mail story on Karam and Kartari Chand, who claim to have married in December 1925 when he was 20 and she was 13. So if Yahoo is right, that is some 2 years before the Chinese couple were married.
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