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SHANGHAI, China — In a country of 1.3 billion people, it’s not always easy to meet Mr. That’s why on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, parents congregate in a corner of People’s Park, a sanctuary of palm trees, ponds and winding paths in the heart of this busy Chinese city.
Lining the brick pathways are hundreds of pastel umbrellas on which these well-meaning parents have clipped information about their sons’ and daughters’ age, height, weight, occupation and level of education.
Rather, it’s a way for parents to put their stamp of approval on a relationship before the couple has even met.
“In Chinese culture, the in-laws are very important,” she said.
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Wang said she met her husband online, much to the distress of her mother, who didn’t think it was a trustworthy venue.
This phenomenon developed organically more than a decade ago in Shanghai and has since sprung up in other parts of China, said Zhen Trudy Wang, a former Caijing magazine reporter in Shanghai who now works for a public relations firm.
People were meeting at the park anyway to practice dancing, badminton and martial arts. “Matchmaking” is actually a more accurate term than “market,” which implies that money is exchanging hands, noted Wang.
“So if the in-laws like you at first sight, it’s really helpful.” Some Chinese youth are more amenable to being set up by their parents, because they grew up in a household that values obedience, said Wang.
The parents who instill obedience tend to be the ones who take this more active role.It’s impossible to say whether the matchmaking corner in People’s Park is producing any loving couples, but there are some anecdotes.