Little love on Valentine's Day for China's "leftovers"

While many in mainland China were spending Monday evening enjoying candlelit dinners with the one they loved, spare a thought for the nation's "leftovers."

That's the term given to single men older than 30 and single women older than 27, according to the All-China Women's Federation, which also claims these poor souls make up a significant percentage of the country's estimated 180 million singletons.

With the legal age for marriage in China set at 20 for women and 22 for men, the clock is well and truly ticking for these "leftovers"; hence a survey released over the weekend points out that more than 70 percent of them are suffering from the effects of depression.

The Beijing-based Ciming Health Checkup Management Group and the Chinese Medical Doctor Association questioned more than 160,000 Chinese singles and found less than 25 percent were happy with their lives, 22 percent feel lonely frequently, and 30 percent have to deal with negative emotions such as anxiety, weariness and frustration.

Other scary facts presented include the 21.6 percent who suffer from long-term sexual repression and the fact that only 17.6 percent have regular sex partners.

"The government should invest money to hold more match-making activities for these leftover people," one marriage expert told the China Daily.

But it also seems that a decent number of China's lonely hearts are at least trying to take matters into their own hands. More than 50,000 singles notices were reportedly posted from February 2 to 9 in Beijing's International Sculpture Park, traditionally the place for the capital's singles to gather when they want to elicit the help of match-makers.

The tale of woe ...

Why China's "leftovers'' remain single: Always stay at home after work, 20.2 percent; Poor finances, 19.2 percent; Narrow social circle, 18.4 percent; Obsessed by former relationship/prefer to remain single rather than settle for someone incompatible, 17 percent; Lack of confidence/Don't know how to relate to the opposite sex, 12.7 percent; Sacrifice relationship for career/study, 9.3 percent; Choice to remain celibate, 3.2 percent.

MS

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