Match-Making Markets Flourish in Chinese City Parks
Chinese parents, anxious to find a good match for their children, have come up with a new form of personal advertising: they drag their eligible sons and daughters to the park and put them on display along with their personal information and want list.
Match-making or dating markets are flourishing in parks in several major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Anshan, with special corners reserved for parents’ displays.
Li Fei, a young woman, reluctantly followed her mother to Shanghai’s People’s Park, where more than 500 parents set up their “personal ads” on weekends, China Youth Daily reported on June 30.
Li was perturbed to find all of her data—her age, height, education, work experience, salary, and other financial assets—on public display. It was just like a “for sale” ad, she said.
To make their ads more “eye catching,” some parents print and laminate them and display them on placards laid out on the ground or by hanging them on strings tied to trees.
One mother had prepared a list of financial requirements for potential suitors of her daughter: He must own a two-bedroom home, ideally in the city, and live by himself; the property must be registered in his name; he must also have a monthly income of over 8,000 yuan (US$1,304), nearly double Shanghai’s 2011 average salary.
On that particular day, one parent told China Youth Daily with a sigh: “Business is not very good today, too few parents have come to the corner.”
In her book, “Who would marry my daughter,” Sun Peidong, a faculty member at the School of Social Development, East China University of Political Science and Law, conducted a survey of the dating market at Shanghai People’s Park. She concluded that 63 percent of the ads are about young women seeking a marriage partner.
“These parents are ‘selling’ their children,” Sun said. “Parents employ advertisements to catch attention in this competitive market. It is obviously a market-oriented approach.”
According to statistics, 90 percent of Chinese adults are married. Single people are facing a lot of social pressure, which also reflects on their parents.
Eastday.com said in a report that some parents cannot sleep because of the pressure they feel due to their unmarried children. Some even avoid visiting relatives for fear of being asked about their children’s marriage status.
Qiao Xiaochun, a professor at Peking University Institute of Population Research, indicated that the older a woman gets, the harder it becomes for her to find a suitable spouse.
The young adult children have their own points of view and feelings about their parents’ anxiety. Li Fei told China Youth Daily that the real obstacle to dating is the pressure from family and society.
Translation by Jenny Li. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.
Read the original Chinese article.