Chinese couples recently celebrated China’s own Lunar Valentine’s Day, and once again complained about their disappointing dates. This year, the Horizon Consulting Group conducted a survey centering on the 2013 Chinese Lunar Valentine’s Day, interviewing 1,074 randomly selected Chinese Internet users aged 18 to 45 about the holiday and their views on love. The results showed that while love may be eternal, Chinese views on love and relationships are changing.
While the survey showed that around 80% of the respondents were unsatisfied with their partner’s performance on this special date, there were some more positive results. Signaling an increasing concern for cultural preservation, over 80% of respondents reported they would prefer to spend time with their significant other on Chinese Lunar Valentine’s Day, while fewer respondents, 75.9%, reported the same desire to celebrate the Western Valentine’s Day together on February 14.
The most intriguing result of the survey, however, were the maps depicting respondents’ preferences for the geographic origins of their ideal partners. Although an old Chinese saying has it that “a rabbit doesn’t eat the grass by its own burrow,兔子不吃窝边草” the survey revealed the opposite to be true: over half of the respondents reported they preferred partners who came from the same provinces and cities as they did.
Among those surveyed who, like the rabbits, did not want to graze too close to home, ladies from southern China and gentlemen from northern China were the most preferred.
Specifically, in response to the question, “Where would you want your future husband/wife to be from?” Sichuanese women (57.7%) were most popular among men, while men from Beijing (54.5%) were the first choice among female respondents. In the eyes of self-identified “artsy young women文艺女青年,” or hipsters, men from Shanghai were the preferred choice for husbands.
While people from these cities happily enjoy their popularity, others were annoyed by the findings. Women from Hubei, central China, were among those the survey rubbed the wrong way. According to the map, less than 2% of male respondents reported wanting to marry a woman from Hubei, with some saying that hearing a woman speak the Hubei dialect often made them lose interest in her.
But might more practical reasons lie behind respondents’ choices?
Due to China’s household registration, or hukou, policy, a person’s place of origin has a significant impact on where they are allowed to work, study, live, and obtain medical care and other benefits. As one Weibo user @追梦小青年儿 put it, “What [women] want to marry is a Beijing hukou, not a Beijing man.她们想嫁给北京户口，不是北京男人。”
While the statement may not be entirely true, it is fair to say that the selection of one’s preferred partner might have something to do with the economic development level of the place in question, as the survey results suggested that people from remote provinces such as Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Guizhou, and Guangxi were less popular among interviewees.
Debates over the findings of the survey and possible explanations for them have continued among Chinese netizens, and likely will never come to any solid conclusions. But many of the netizens did reach a consensus that, as user @维伽德 remarked:
There’s nothing worth debating here. Good girls who read this will just laugh and move on with their lives, because they don’t worry for a second that they won’t be able to find someone to marry them. Bad girls, on the other hand, won’t find anyone to think well of them no matter how loudly they yell. There are people like that in every city. Just have a laugh over it and it’ll be fine.没什么好争的 好姑娘看到一笑带过就是了 因为根本不怕嫁不出去 泼妇的话骂的在大声也不会让人觉得好 每个地方都有那么一小撮人 笑笑就好。