China's singles head overseas to evade parental pressure

Xinhua
"My parents have set up a series of blind dates for me ... I don't want to deal with all that."
Xinhua
Imaginechina

Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, is traditionally a holiday for family gatherings in China, but Huang Liyuan, who is unmarried, chose to travel overseas alone instead.

"My parents have set up a series of blind dates for me," said Huang, 24, from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. "I don't want to deal with all that."

Hundreds of millions head home to celebrate New Year, but many young people would rather travel to escape the pressure, according to a report by Chinese online tour operator Ctrip.com.

A total of 6.5 million people will go overseas during the holiday this year. Of them, almost 25 percent were born in the 1990s, and a majority of them are doing so out of fear of marriage.

"Compared with going home, travelling is much more relaxing," said Huang. "I'd rather see the beauty outside than dealing with my nagging parents and relatives."

In the eyes of many Chinese parents, Spring Festival is a great opportunity to "help" their children to tie the knot, according to psychologist Rong Li.

"Chinese parents traditionally want their children to get married at appropriate ages," Rong said. "Many arrange dates for their children during the Lunar New Year holiday."

In China, the legal marriage age for men is 22, and for women, 20. Many of those born in the 1990s hold different family values from their parents and do not want to bow to parental pressure, Rong said.

"This group are financially independent and have high requirements for their partners. Many choose to postpone marriage or simply stay single," Rong said.

Gao Wei from northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said that the fear of married life, difficult relationships with potential in-laws, and possible unfaithfulness have put her off marriage.

The favorite destinations of the travelers is Southeast Asia, the Ctrip report said. Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines are among the top ten destinations.

"Convenient transportation, few language barriers, good tourist services and amazing scenery are the reasons," said Lu Jiangming, a travel agent in Guangxi.

The Spring Festival holiday lasts from February 15 to 21.

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