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NEWS// Unmarried in China

NEWS// Unmarried in China

A new social phenomenon has gripped China. Chinese twenty-somethings are not getting married and having children. Chinese culture has traditionally valued family.  Parents are shaken by the thought their young adult children will remain unmarried and childless. 

Many parents in China are applying social pressure on their marriage-age children.


Unmarried young adults dread returning home for family gatherings at New Years and other occasions. There they face interrogation by parents and other relatives about their dating lives and marriage prospects. 


Parents will engage matchmakers to assist their children with finding the right person to marriage. Their efforts may happen outside the knowledge or permission of their children.
Some cities have matchmaking parks where parents can post profiles of their unmarried children for other parents with unmarried children to find.

The Chinese government has also attempted to intervene


In 2007, the Ministry of Education began to publicly shame women who were 27 years or older as “leftover women.”  The term leftover now also applies to men. “Leftovers” are being urged to lower their standards when searching for a spouse. 

The stick, not the carrot

The government had granted late-marrying couples an extra seven days of honeymoon leave to encourage more to marry. But in 2016 the government took that carrot away under the rationale that if younger people would not have the incentive of an extra week’s vacation as an excuse for waiting to tie the knot, they would marry earlier. 

Sources: The Conversation,  China Daily, PBS, BBC, Global Times, International Business