The project envisaged by administrators of Mungyeong rural city in the North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, is being criticized at the national level. Mungyeong's Transitional Marriage Project of setting up old, single men in the village with young Vietnamese students who are in South Korea for education purpose, is being slammed not only by Vietnamese students, but even by Korean nationals as sexist and racist project.
The project makes a request for cooperation, especially sought from the immigration office. Accordingly, the project has been designed, "to promote an increase of population and revive the city, amid the exodus of the younger generation — especially female." Reports claim that there the city has many tourist spots including Gomo Fortress, but there is a decrease in city's population.
Mungyeong Request Letter
The request letter states: "Mungyeong City is launching a transnational marriage project and looking for your active cooperation in helping the older, single men 'who have missed the right timing to get married' get set up with Vietnamese study abroad students." According to Koreaboo, the request letter was sent to the immigration office in April 2021.
The letter also explains Mungyeong's current financial support policies for married couples who give birth to up to four children. Accordingly, the city promises to pay up to $26,900 (30.0 million KRW) in installments over 50 months. But the condition to receive the money is that the transnational marriage should lead to "population."
Complaint with Human Rights Commission
Enraged by this, a group of Vietnamese students living in South Korea have contacted the Korea Women Migrants Human Rights Center and the Gong Gam Human Rights Law Foundation to file an official complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea against the Mungyeong city. They have claimed that the request is discriminating against the Vietnamese students and violating their human rights.
According to Koreaboo, the Korea Women Migrants Human Rights Center has stated that the project is sexist and racist toward migrant women who are in Korea. "The idea is discriminatory against migrant women. It violates their rights to be treated equally. It violates their rights to pursue happiness."
Mungyeong is largely an agricultural region with more than 71,000 population. It had a largest business of coal mining, but as this business was discontinued, many families, especially the youth, have moved to more urban areas. Currently, the city depends on agriculture for business.