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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.
Compared with western cultures, China has traditionally had a vastly different value system toward marriages and family.
For Chinese romance, this was its own “great leap forward.”By the early 1990s, Chinese TV networks found themselves in fierce competition with one another.
Economic liberalization had loosened restrictions for what could appear on the airwaves, but there was now the added pressure of turning a profit.
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 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.
However, even in the wake of political change and globalization, many families still held the traditional Chinese belief that women, unlike men, belonged in the home, and that their parents had the final say over whom they could marry.