Finding love no bed of roses for Chinese men

Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:44pm EST
 
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By Maxim Duncan

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Finding one's better half can be a tricky business in modern-day China, with hectic work schedules, nagging parents and a gender imbalance conspiring to make selecting a partner a nightmare for single men.

According to the recent "2010 China Marriage and Relationship Survey Report," 260 million Chinese are looking for love -- 180 million singles and 80 million concerned parents.

Eager singles swamped matchmaking events held in Beijing during the Chinese New Year holidays, with an estimated 50,000 people attending a week-long event in the capital's Ditan Park, according to organiser Jiayuan.com, a popular matchmaking website with over 40 million registered members.

"I am the third oldest in my family, and everyone has a girlfriend except for me," said 29-year-old insurance worker Chen Nan, who said he felt pressure to step up the search for a wife.

"Whenever there are get-togethers with university classmates and relatives they ask questions like 'Why don't you have a girlfriend' or 'Are you going to have one next year?' So there really is a lot of pressure," he said.

Men and women taking part in the event, mainly white-collar workers in their late 20s and early 30s, flirted and exchanged phone numbers and pieces of paper.

According to Jiayuan.com, over 70 percent of participants were in fact anxious parents hoping to fix up children too busy or shy to meet the opposite sex.

An army of 50-somethings browsed rows of sheets of paper strung up between trees showing singles' personal information, jotting down details.   Continued...