Chinese govt plays Cupid to help youth get married

Beijing: With over 100 million youngsters in China opting to remain single despite attaining marriageable age, the government has launched an ambitious blind date drive to encourage single youths to get hitched.

Young singles are encouraged to participate in organised blind dates following a guideline issued by the Communist Youth League (CYL), an influential body attached to the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), to help young people find the right partner.

Official data shows that more than 100 million Chinese people of marriageable age remain single.

The sixth census conducted in 2010 showed that 2.47 per cent of women above the age of 30 were single, ‘China News Service’ had reported in June.

The CYL, Ministry of Civil Affairs and National Health and Family Planning Commission on September 12 said in a statement that helping young people find the right partner had a direct impact on their further development, which affects societal harmony and stability.

The notice also said that “a civilised, healthy and rational concept of love and marriage” should be combined with socialist core values.

The initiatives came following reports that an increasing number of Chinese youth were disinterested in love life and were weighed down by tough working conditions and competition to succeed.

In response to the call, the CYL Zhejiang Provincial Committee established a special department for matchmaking in June and organised a blind date event which attracted 5,000 people.

Apart from CYL committees, other government bodies such as labour unions and women’s federations also played Cupid, state-run Global Times reported.

“Family is society’s basic unit. Without a family, people will lose their motivation to work diligently, and too many single people will eventually affect social stability,” said an employee surnamed Suo at the Women’s Federation in Pizhou in East China’s Jiangsu Province.

Suo has organised several blind dates for government employees.

28-year-old Zeng’s boss at a state-owned company in Beijing warmed up to Suo’s idea. Zeng said that he was allowed to take a day off when going on a blind date.

“My boss believes that a man will only be committed to work after he has a family,” Zeng said.

While most Chinese netizens welcome the development, some disapprove of organisational interference.

An anonymous Internet user said on Zhihu, a Chinese Quora-like website, that her company’s labour union often calls her.

“It (labour union) said that work is less important than marriage, and women are destined to get married,” she said, adding that she finally blocked the labour union after it called her a fourth time.

Organisers said that few people successfully find a match at those blind date events.

“It’s too short a time to get to know each other. And the men who attend are usually younger than the women,” Suo said.