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For single people, they’re a platform for seeking potential spouses; for fans, they’re the subject of gossip and dissection; for the cultural elites, they’re a topic for derision; and for the government, they’re a target for surveillance.
Compared with western cultures, China has traditionally had a vastly different value system toward marriages and family.
At the same time, traditional courtship and marriage rituals were evaporating.
For example, in 1970, only 1.8% of couples lived together before marriage. Meanwhile, divorces in China rose from 170,449 couples in 1978 to 3.5 million in 2013, while marriages with foreigners increased from fewer than 8,500 couples in 1979 to more than 49,000 couples in 2010.
In 2010, an unemployed male suitor on asked a female contestant if she’d go on a bike ride with him for a date.
She responded that she would “rather weep in a BMW” than laugh on a bike.
Others partnered with corporations to boost advertising revenue.