'Jab They Met': Single Men and Women are Boarding China's Special Train to 'Find' Love
Over a 1,000 young men and women travelled aboard a special train in the hopes of finding the perfect partner earlier this month in China as the country tries to close a huge gender gap that has been in the making since the implementation of the “one-child policy” during the 1970s.
The two-day and one night journey from Chongqing North Station to Qianjiang Station began on August 10, Asia One reported.
The 10-carriage Y999 'Love-Pursuit Train' was launched three years ago as a roving matchmaking service for the country's 200 million single people, Daily Mail UK reported.
Since then, more than 3,000 youngsters have undertaken the journey with 10 couples getting married after meeting each other on the train.
“Such activities are more creative than matchmaking. The train is like a magpie bridge, bringing people from different places together to get to know each other during the journey,” one of the participants, Huang Song, was quoted as saying. “Even if you don't find the right one for you, you can still make a lot of friends on the train.”
Besides various games and dining options, passengers also stopped over at the ancient water town of Zhuo Shui to watch traditional performances and enjoy a 1,000-people banquet. Yang Huan said she already found herself a boyfriend while travelling on the 'Love-Pursuit Train'. “We only got to know each other on the return trip and realised we had matching values,” she told news website youth.cn.
“We realised that we both wanted the kind of love that is depicted in poem "To the Oak Tree" when both sides admire each other but remain independent. We enjoyed being together. [It felt] nature, easy and not coy,” she was quoted as saying.
Some 30 million Chinese men are estimated to be “wifeless over the next 30 years” due to the one-child policy, which was abolished in 2016, and led to many couples deciding to abort unborn girls in order for a chance to have a boy.
With only 7.2 people out of every 1,000 getting hitched in the country in 2018, China's marriage rate hit a decade low last year.
The mandatory one-child policy was launched in the late 1970s amid a soaring population due to a post-war baby boom encouraged by Chairman Mao. The rule was aimed at keeping the Chinese population under 1.2 billion by the end of the 20th century.
In urban areas, women were asked to abort second pregnancies and couples were imposed fines, usually three times their annual income, in case they decided to have a second child.