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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chinese love hunters

New York Times journalist Brook Larmer wrote an article about Yang Ying, one of China's love hunters.  Her job is to find a suitable wife who meets all the requirements of rich Chinese businessmen.

She works for the Beijing branch of Diamond Love and is always on the lookout for likely candidates - in the street, shopping centres and in every public place.  The love hunter who finds the perfect match receives a bonus of $30,000 which is five times the average salary in this line of work.

Diamond Love has four million wealthy men on their books who are prepared to pay well for a suitable wife.  She will have a pretty face, perfect skin, and must be a virgin.  Once a candidate is found, she will undergo a series of tests to prove she is truthful, honest and not after her future husband's money.  If she passes, she will learn how to be a better wife, the importance of sexual relations, how to manage a rich man's household and how to read her husband's moods.  The $16,000 fee for two 14-day courses is then paid by the prospective husband.

Finding a suitable wife in China today is not easy, especially if you are poor.  Mothers of sons who don't own a house or apartment and are in low-paid work find it very hard.  Traditionally, people relied on matchmakers and family to find a suitable spouse but as the family structure breaks down and disintegrates, those customs have now disappeared, leaving young people confused and not knowing where to turn.

But there is one dreaded custom in China that hasn't disintegrated and still puts enormous pressure on women.  If a woman isn't married before the age of 28, she becomes one of the "leftover women."

A long history of son preference has led to female infanticide and easy access to abortion, courtesy of the government's one-child policy, has led to widespread abortion of female fetuses.  As a result, 30 million more men than women will reach adulthood and enter China's mating market by 2020.