Various belly sizes simulating the different stages of pregnancy. (Internet photo)
Fake bellies for pregnant women have become a hot online shopping item in China. Shoppers use the items — among other reasons — for faking a pregnancy before adopting a child, to avoid being laid off at work, and to enjoy the privileges to which pregnant women are accustomed.
Those products are priced at 400-1,200 yuan (US$65-$190) and are available in various sizes according to the length of the pregnancy. Sizes include approximations to a belly at two to four months, five to seven months, and eight to 10 months.
The product can be attached to the body with a belt or even glue.
A seller says that fake bellies differ in quality and some may be harmful to the skin.
A woman in Guangzhou spent 1,300 yuan (US$205) to purchase a whole set of fake bellies to help aid her and her husband's plan to adopt a child. They plan to claim that the child is their own.
A female employee at a realty marketing firm in Chongqing used fake bellies to cover up her lackadaisical business performance. Her colleagues eventually notified her manager, who then fired her.
Xiao Jing (pseudonym), a young woman in Chongqing, is hesitant about having a child. Under the encouragement of her husband, she has worn the belly to simulate pregnancy and has in the meantime found out that being a pregnant women in public has its perks, including being given priority when out shopping, doing things without the need to queue, or being given a seat on public transportation.
Wang Zhuo, professor of sociology at Sichuan University, points out with ethical nuance that fake bellies constitute a betrayal of trust rather than a case of forgery.