But over the past 30 years, these customs have been upended.
I’ve studied how traditional Chinese marriage rituals have evolved in response to globalization.
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View the full list Today, dating shows are an important ingredient in China’s cultural diet, with popular shows like “If You Are the One” and “One Out of a Hundred” attracting millions of viewers.
Economic liberalization had loosened restrictions for what could appear on the airwaves, but there was now the added pressure of turning a profit.By 2000, that number had skyrocketed to 32.6 percent.Meanwhile, divorces in China rose from 170,449 couples in 1978 to 3.5 million in 2013, while marriages with foreigners increased from less than 8,500 couples in 1979 to over 49,000 couples in 2010.At the same time, traditional courtship and marriage rituals were evaporating.For example, in 1970, only 1.8 percent of couples lived together before marriage.Its emphasis on finding partners for men was a testament to China’s unbalanced sex ratio, caused by a combination of China’s One Child Policy and advances in ultrasound technology in the 1980s that allowed pregnant women to abort millions of baby girls. Male candidates introduced themselves and their family’s background, listed their criteria for a spouse and answered a few questions from the host.It was essentially a singles ad broadcast before audience members, who, if interested, could contact the candidate for a date.Pan Wang does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.University of Technology Sydney provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.Marriage matchmaking has always been an important cultural practice in China.For generations, marriage was arranged by parents who followed the principle of “matching doors and windows,” which meant that people needed to marry those of similar social and economic standing.But China’s 1978 “Open Door Policy,” which transitioned the country from a rigid, centrally planned economy to a global, market-based economy, exposed the Chinese people to an array of outside cultural influences.Meanwhile, the country’s 1980 marriage law codified, for the first time, freedom to marry and gender equality.More than ever before, networks needed to produce entertaining shows that attracted audiences.