China has been in the Marriage and Divorce news lately. Once on March 9, 2013 article in the New York Times by Brook Larmer article entitled “The Price of Marriage in China.” See entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/business /in-a-changing-china-new-matchmaking-markets.html
Larmer says, “Three decades of combustive economic growth have reshaped the landscape of marriage in China. A generation ago, China was one of the world’s most equal nations, in both gender and wealth. Most people were poor, and tight controls over housing, employment, travel and family life simplified the search for a suitable match — what the Chinese call mendang hudui, meaning roughly “family doors of equal size.” ….
China’s transition to a market economy has swept away many restrictions in people’s lives. But of all the new freedoms the Chinese enjoy today — making money, owning a house, choosing a career — there is one that has become an unexpected burden: seeking a spouse. This may be a time of sexual and romantic liberation in China, but the solemn task of finding a husband or wife is proving to be a vexing proposition for rich and poor alike.
“The old family and social networks that people used to rely on for finding a husband or wife have fallen apart,” said James Farrer, an American sociologist whose book, “Opening Up,” looks at sex, dating and marriage in contemporary China. “There’s a huge sense of dislocation in China, and young people don’t know where to turn.”
… Demographic changes, too, are creating complications. Not only are many more Chinese women postponing marriage to pursue careers, but China’s gender gap — 118 boys are born for every 100 girls — has become one of the world’s widest, fueled in large part by the government’s restrictive one-child policy. By the end of this decade, Chinese researchers estimate, the country will have a surplus of 24 million unmarried men.
Without traditional family or social networks, many men and women have taken their searches online, where thousands of dating and marriage Web sites have sprung up in an industry that analysts predict will soon surpass $300 million annually. These sites cater mainly to China’s millions of white-collar workers. But intense competition, along with mistrust of potential mates’ online claims, has spurred a growing number of singles — rich and poor — to turn to more hands-on matchmaking services.
China’s matchmaking tradition stretches back more than 2,000 years, to the first imperial marriage broker in the late Zhou dynasty. The goal of matchmakers ever since has usually been to pair families of equal stature for the greater social good. Today, however, matchmaking has warped into a commercial free-for-all in which marriage is often viewed as an opportunity to leap up the social ladder or to proclaim one’s arrival at the top.
Single men have a hard time making the list if they don’t own a house or an apartment, which in cities like Beijing are extremely expensive. And despite the gender imbalance, Chinese women face intense pressure to be married before the age of 28, lest they be rejected and stigmatized as “leftover women.”
Dozens of high-end matchmaking services have sprung up in China in the last five years, charging big fees to find and to vet prospective spouses for wealthy clients. Their methods can turn into gaudy spectacle. One firm transported 200 would-be trophy wives to a resort town in southwestern China for the perusal of one powerful magnate. Another organized a caravan of BMWs for rich businessmen to find young wives in Sichuan Province. Diamond Love, among the largest love-hunting services, sponsored a matchmaking event in 2009 where 21 men each paid a $15,000 entrance fee.”
On the other hand, there was an article by David Barboza in the March 8, 2013 New York Times entitled, “In China, Checklist for a Home Seller: First, Get a Divorce.” See entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/world/asia/some-chinese-seek-a-divorce-to-avoid-real-estate-tax.html
Barboza says, “Divorce filings shot up here and in other big cities across China this past week after rumors spread that one way to avoid the new 20 percent tax on profits from housing sales was to separate from a spouse, at least on paper.
The surge in divorce filings is the latest indication of how volatile an issue real estate has become in China in the past decade and how resistant people are to additional taxes.”
Perhaps these two trends will cancel each other out or perhaps all the people getting divorced will increase the supply of people to get married!
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