Temple fairs turn match makers for Chinese youth

Roughly 50,000 people have visited the park's square Buddhist temple in Beijing during the holidays for the love-match event, which ends today, it organiser Han said. About 5,000 people had also posted their personal information on huge boards erected around the square, while others have taken the chance to exchange contact details with potential partners or to consult with on-site relationship experts, he told official China Daily.

Han said that more than 70 per cent of attendees are anxious parents looking to fix up children considered "to have left it late to start a family" by traditional Chinese standards. Beijing's temple fairs have long been one of the most popular outdoor events during Spring Festival, especially after the Communist government permitted religious observances in the last three decades.

Thanks to the mild winter weather, many this year are attracting record numbers, temple officials said. Dongcheng district's Ditan Park, which has received an average more than 150,000 visitors every day, is also hosting a large, seven-day matchmaking party, charging young singles 50 yuan (USD seven) and parents just 20 yuan.

"Single male, 1.75 meters tall, aged 33, doctorate, graduate from Chinese Academy of Sciences," read the sign next to a 58-year-old father who gave his name as Yang.

"My son is working very hard," he said.

"Since I'm retired, I came here (for him). I'm not too shy to promote him. Compared with previous decades, the younger generation usually puts career first instead of starting a family. They are not anxious about marriage, but I am," he said.

Wang Ge, 29, was one of the few young people who accompanied their parents. The white-collar worker said he is looking to find a serious relationship.

"I come under pressure every Spring Festival when relatives ask me about my girlfriend. There is only one week to go until Valentine's Day and I really don't want to be single for it again this year," Wang said.

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