By 2020 there will be 30 million more young men than women in China. In a one-party state that values social stability above all, this disaffected and frustrated element of the population is cause for concern
When Liu returned to his childhood village to celebrate Chinese New Year, his parents had arranged a familiar and depressing task for him: a series of speed dates. Over a week back in rural Jiangxi province, he met half a dozen potential wives in encounters he says felt more like job interviews. He expects to go through the same process next year, without much hope of success.
For Jin, who works with Liu in the factories of China’s Pearl River Delta, the cajoling matchmaker was his second cousin. “My cousin brought [the date] to meet me in a public square in the village, then left us together,” Jin recalls. “A few minutes in, this girl made it clear that owning an apartment would be essential, but she could wait till later for a car. And she’d be OK if the apartment wasn’t in the centre of the town, but I had to have a deposit of at least 200,000 yuan [about £22,500].”
The only reason my parents call me is to tell me to hurry up and find a girlfriend. I’ve stopped answering their calls