Overseas Chinese look for love at home
Updated: 2012-01-11 08:21
By Luo Wangshu (China Daily)
Lack of traditional women abroad spurs some to seek brides in China.
A man kneels down and asks a woman to become his girlfriend during a dating activity on Jan 8 co-organized by Beijing's Chaoyang district federation of returned overseas Chinese and dating website Jiayuan.com. More than 150 Chinese who have returned from overseas took part in the activity. Liu Guanguan / China News Service
BEIJING - Leo Han (alias), a 30-year-old marketing analyst in Seattle, confesses that he is not much of a housekeeper.
"I never cooked before I came to the United States," Leo said.
"My mom never even let me touch the dishes when I was young. They wanted me to spend every second studying."
That's why Han says it is essential that any girl he marries knows how to cook and clean.
Now that Han has settled into a career as a senior marketing analyst for a world-renowned company, he is looking to marry, but like many overseas Chinese born on the mainland, he is finding it difficult to meet a match abroad.
"Women here like to do the same things as men do," Han joked. "They even blamed me for not being able to have a baby."
Han said he prefers a traditional woman like his mother.
"I would like to have a warm home like the one I remember from my childhood," he said. "When my dad came home from work, my mom already had food waiting for him."
Zhang Yu, the organizer of a dating group that includes about 80 singles, agreed that housekeeping ability was an essential characteristic for Chinese men who are looking for wives abroad.
He told China Daily that Chinese men abroad are usually busy with work and seek someone to take care of the household. However, in many countries, it is expected that the whole family shares the housework, he added.
Dong Sang, a 24-year-old student in Ibaraki-ken, Japan, said that more than 50 percent of Japanese women stay at home after they are married, and this trend has left a great impression on Chinese students studying there.
Liu Han, a fashion buyer at Louis Vuitton in Beijing, dismissed the notion that women should be solely responsible for the home: "It is time that all people are (considered to have been) created equal instead of all men."
Liu never cooks, and her boyfriend enjoys their lifestyle.
"We can hire someone to help us," Liu said. "They are more professional than I."
After going through two failed relationships since 2004, Leo started considering looking for a wife back in China.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2010, 40 percent of Asian female newlyweds married outside their race in 2008.
But according to the data, at least 80 percent of Asian males married an Asian female in the United States, and Chinese make up the largest portion of the Asian-American population.
Thus, Chinese brides are short in demand in the marriage market in the United States, which leads many Chinese men to hunt for wives the traditional way back in China: blind dates.
Traditionally, parents arranged the marriages of their children, and young couples could not even meet each other before the wedding.
Now, the tradition lives on, albeit in a different form. For instance, Leo Han started a series of blind dates over the Christmas holiday in the northeastern city Harbin. He plans to take a bride back to Seattle if the relationship is still going well after one year.
When asked how he will communicate to maintain his relationship, Leo said it will be easy with the Internet and other forms of modern communication.
"We can use Skype, or QQ," he laughed. "It would have been hard to imagine before."
Leo met a total of seven women introduced by family and friends.
"I don't need them to be super pretty," Leo said. "I expect them to pay more attention to family rather than socializing with other single men at parties."
However, Leo admitted that attractiveness was indeed a factor during the blind dates.
"I can't know how the woman will behave in the future after the first meeting," he said. "A beautiful face is the only thing that I can know for sure."
Now that Leo has gone back to the United States, he is still keeping in touch with two women.
Leo's family was easily able to find seven women, but some must turn to a professional company to hunt for wives.
Lu Yanxia, a relationship consultant at Jiayuan.com, a match.com-like dating website, told China Daily that she had four to five male clients residing overseas at the same time.
The average price ranges from 50,000 yuan ($ 7,940) to 150,000 yuan ($23,700) and depends on the difficulty of finding a wife.
For example, a client who is 168 centimeters tall has to pay more than a 178-centimeter client because it will be easier to find a wife for the latter, Lu said.
Following the trend, popular Chinese TV dating game shows, such as Fei Cheng Wu Rao, based on the Australian show Taken Out, have hosted special performances overseas to serve clients there.