Jonathan Watts: Beijing searches for love among the park benches – with a little help from mum

From Guardian Unlimited:

At 1pm every Sunday, Mrs Shen goes hunting for a husband. Equipped with photos, a resume and oodles of charm and enthusiasm, the 50-something spends the entire afternoon looking for Mr Right among the cypress and ginkgo trees of Sun Yat-sen Park in Beijing.

She is not alone. During the past six months, several thousand other Beijingers of similar age have pursued love and marriage on the leafy south bank of the Hou river, in giant ad hoc matchmaking events that highlight the strains placed on traditional family life by China’s spectacular rate of development…

The park meetings were started last autumn by a group of middle-aged men and women who first met during their morning tai chi exercises in the park.

“We got chatting, and we realised that many of us shared concerns about our children’s failure to marry, so we thought we’d try to help each other,” said Mrs Zhang, one of the organisers.

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