Cutbacks haven’t fully diminished the size of China’s military, and neither has it decreased its demand for wives.
This was proven in a mass dating event in Wuhan, Hebei last Saturday. The annual event, now in its tenth year, paired 200 soldiers from the air division of the People’s Liberation Army with some 200 single women. All participants shared a lunch together at a long, tiny table and then later played games and sang songs to help them break the ice.
Despite China’s notorious gender imbalance, the number of women interested in attending the mass dating event outnumbered the men. An initial group of 500 women were whitled down to 200, mostly white collar workers and teachers from local schools. In fact, the single soldiers were so in demand that some women attending the event had to settle for having lunch with other women who couldn’t find a partner.
Last year’s event resulted in ten couples tying the knot, which was performed at this year’s event that also featured a performance by military personnel. The event is responsible for around a hundred such weddings over the years.
Mass weddings are common in China, and are often performed by people in the same field such as the military, police, or construction. Events such as the opening of a tunnel or a railway line are sometimes marked by such mass weddings.