Chinese parents play cupid on Valentine’s Day eve

February 14th, 2011 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Feb 14 (IANS) “How much do you earn” seemed to the question of the day as parents exchanged information about their unmarried children during a matchmaking event held ahead of Valentine’s Day in the Chinese capital.Despite the cold weather, parks across the country became hot matchmaking spots as aspiring brides and grooms flocked in to find their life mates.

What began as small groups of parents meeting to exchange information about their unmarried children, ended with around 50,000 people registering their personal data on fliers put up on large boards erected at the parks.

Many of the fliers listed specific salary and housing requirements, China Daily reported.

“This is not romantic at all,” said 24-year-old Yu Junjie.

Li Mingshun, deputy head of the marriage and family board of the China Law Society, said lack of time to meet people contributed heavily to the popularity of the matchmaking events.

Most young people are busy at work or study, so the Chinese new year holidays provided a chance for them to meet many people within a short time, he said.

Yu Junjie called it a “romance-killer”. She pointed out one flier that asked for the potential match, a Beijing local, to have a monthly salary of more than 5,000 yuan ($760). For men without a Beijing registration), the minimum salary was 10,000 yuan.

Yu said finding love through the thousands of personal ads on the boards was more challenging than finding a needle in a haystack.

Another woman said: “People who come here are looking for marriage, not love.”

Flipping through his cell phone, Suo Jinpeng, 28, said he got seven phone numbers from young women or their parents, during the three hours he spent in the park.

However, the most frequent question he was asked was about his salary.

“It’s a reasonable question, but a little bit unfair. I also want to know how much money these girls make, but guys are not supposed to ask such questions, I guess.”

There was no apparent discomfort among the parents at the matchmaking events.

A woman who gave only her surname, Li, when asked what kind of guy she was looking for her daughter, said: “College degree and above, owning his own apartment.”

Liu Hongjun, 58, was not happy about several potential daughter-in-law candidates.

He and his wife have been trying since last summer to find a woman who would marry their 32-year-old son. “Some girls’ parents will have second thoughts as soon as they know my son has been divorced.”

“He does not like some girls we picked for him. There have been arguments. That’s probably the generation gap. We have different views and standards about marriage,” Liu said.

A nationwide survey released by the China Association of Marriage and Families Research and Baihe Marriage Research Institute said over 70 percent of women polled think that to be eligible for marriage, a man should have a house, a steady income and some savings.

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