Parents advertise unwed children
Parents place ads in the Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing, hoping to find a partner for their unwed children.[Photo provided to China Daily]
In the past, emperors went to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing to pray for bumper harvests. Nowadays, concerned parents go there to seek divine help to find a partner for their unwed children.
On a cold Friday morning in February, one concerned mother bent down to place a handwritten advertisement in a corner of the park.
Her advertisement, seeking a wife for her 45-year-old son, is among hundreds of pieces of paper placed on the gray, stone path.
At the matchmaking corner, parents swap phone numbers and make dates.
Parents have been coming here for over a decade, and it is a scene reproduced in many parts of the country.
"Man, 45, State-owned enterprise employee, Renmin University of China graduate, seeks woman born in Beijing (should not be fat). Apartment-owner preferred," reads the advertisement.
She has advertised her son in the park on-and-off for almost four years. Though she has found several girlfriends for her son, the relationships did not last.
China had around 180 million singles of marriageable age in 2013.
"I don't believe in online dating or matchmaking TV shows. The matchmaking corner in parks is created by us and is more reliable. At least we can see the parents first. Through them, we know whether their children are good or not," said the mother, who asked not to be named.
Although the odds for a successful match do not look good, "coming to the park is better than waiting at home", said a mother surnamed Chen, who was looking for a potential suitor for her well-educated daughter.
"One of my daughter's classmates found his Miss Right through this matchmaking corner, so she encouraged me to come," Chen said.
But not all unwed children support such involvement in their relationships.
A 30-year-old investment firm employee surnamed Cao wants to focus on her career and does not see marriage in her immediate future.
"I feel like I would lose face if my parents had to find me a partner," said Cao, who lied to her mother about her relationship status.
"I do feel embarrassed being a single woman. But I don't want to compromise just to get married," Cao said.
In the past, people like Cao's parents would have been happy with a bed, a dining table, a wardrobe and a thermos. Nowadays, singles want their partner to have an apartment, a car and similar life values.
"But if I fell head over heels in love, I would give up all these material requirements in an instant," she said.[ Editor:yfs001]