The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad in response to reports of fake marriages, forced prostitution and organ trade has withheld 90 visas of “Pakistani brides” and launched an investigation into 142 cross-border marriages that took place in 2018, said Lijian Zhao, deputy chief of mission at Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, in an interview. The interview, published on Tuesday, was conducted in the backdrop of a crackdown against suspected Chinese nationals of their involvement in alleged fake marriages. “Last year, about 142 Pakistani women applied for wedding visas after marrying Chinese nationals while this year, so far, 140 Pakistani brides have applied for such visas, ” the envoy said, indicating a drastic increase this year. The embassy has withheld at least 90 visa applications and alerted the Pakistani authorities. Talking about recent reports of abuse, the diplomat denied media reports about Pakistani women being subjected to forced prostitution and organ sale in China. “Lies are being spread on internet and the media. They are talking about Pakistani girls being sent to China for forced prostitution or sale of organs. That is totally fabricated and for sensational purposes. There is no evidence for that. Prove me if you have that kind of evidence,” he challenged. He said that out of 142 marriages, only few isolated cases of harassment or torture have been reported. All the marriages, however, were legal and registered after due process. “All the Chinese men came to Pakistan after obtaining their visas from Pakistani Embassy, then they obtained marriage certificates from union councils and then they approached registrar. In the fourth level, they get [their credentials] verified from the foreign ministry and then they get their documents verified from the Chinese Embassy. In the sixth stage, they apply for visas of their spouses, so all the marriages are legal,” he explained. He added that Chinese authorities were trying to provide a cover and support to the legal marriages. “We are trying to track if there is any problem. We are ready to help those girls if there is any issue,” he said. The envoy mentioned a complaint by a Pakistani wife, who wrote a letter to a Pakistani minister complaining that she was subjected to torture. After the letter, he said, the Chinese authorities probed the matter but found no evidence of torture. However, the couple decided to go for divorce after which the Chinese government provided the woman a bullet train ticket and air ticket and she was repatriated on May 2.