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More young Chinese choose to be single / by Wu Jin, February 16, 2017 Adjust font size:

An ancient doctrine by the country's prominent philosopher Confucius considered a man without offspring a top violator against filial piety virtues and asked people to marry and have children at appropriate ages.

But the old dogma has lost its appeal in modern times, which is even less appealing to many during a day like Valentine's Day, when lovers in China are eager to buy roses and chocolates at considerably high prices for a commercialized celebration inherited from the Western hemisphere.

Yu Fei, a Beijinger who divorced five months after her marriage, said she found that she was totally unable to integrate into her husband's family.

"I started to realize that the marriage was not only between us two but also our parents and relatives; but I was not prepared at all to become a member of an unfamiliar family," Yu said.

Li Yinhe, a sociologist from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), observed the young people's growing tendency to stay single as an emerging social trend that conflicts with the traditional view of their parents' generation.

"The parents of the graying generation must be shocked and outraged when they hear their children declare that they prefer to be single. In their opinion, marriage means sustaining families with future generations," Li said.

According to the Social Blue Book issued by the CASS in 2010, the country is expected to see a surplus of 24 million men against women at marriageable ages by 2020, indicating an unbalanced gender structure that may engender an increasing proportion of bachelors.

Qi Zong, a man of 36 working in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, has lost his parents and experienced a lonely Spring Festival by heading to Yunnan Province. Having thought it over for several times, he has told his family that he would rather remain a bachelor. Although his relatives offer their understanding and respect, they haven't given up persuading him to change his mind.

"I won't hide my true thoughts when dating girls, most of whom expect me to develop the relationship into a marriage," said Qi. The disagreement has led to numerous spilt-ups, and the longest relation that Qi has sustained in the past couple of years lasted no more than four months.

According to Qi, people always think that he hasn't met a girl that he truly likes. But for many bachelors like Qi, to be single and stay free is simply the true voice of their hearts.

China's divorce rate has soared since 2002, and the figure has more than tripled to 2.8‰ in 2015.

Moreover, a rise in women's social status has also resulted in the growing number of singles. During the sixth nationwide demographic census in 2010, the rate of unmarried women above 30 doubled to 2.47 percent within a decade, during which more women proactively choose to be single.

Pan Yunkang, director of the Tianjin Research Institute of Marriage and Family, said, "The challenges facing today's marriage that have been caused by the transformation of society, especially the society of migration, cannot be simply judged by moral standards."