In the past few days, Sohu News and Beijing News have shared the bittersweet story of a single guy living in Henan province, central China. The video has gone viral and sparked heated debate about pressure to get married in a country that is seeing an alarmingly low birth rate.
In the video, which has attracted 4 million views, the young man, surnamed Wang, said he has never brought his girlfriend home every Lunar New Year. This led Wang’s mother to think that there was something wrong with her son’s mentality. This odd “diagnosis” led him to fulfill his mother’s strange request: that every Chinese New Year, Wang’s mother takes him to see a psychiatrist.
On February 4, Wang was once again taken by his mother to the Henan Provincial Psychiatric Hospital. However, this time, the doctor told the mother that her son was not sick, she was the one who was sick because she had a mental disorder that “forced her son to marry”.
In an interview with Beijing News, Wang shared that he has worked in Beijing for more than 10 years. Previously, he worked as an actor and is currently a tennis coach.
“It’s not that I don’t want to get married. It’s just that I’m very busy and haven’t met the right people yet. My mother can’t sleep because I’m not married. So I feel quite sad,” Wang said, adding that he accepted to go to the hospital with his mother to give her peace of mind.
Wang also said that in his hometown, unmarried people in their 30s like Wang are often referred to as “single old men”.
In addition, the 38-year-old said that he has not saved enough money to buy a house in Beijing upfront. He worried: “So, who will want to marry me?”.
The video of Wang being taken by his mother to see a doctor posted by Sohu News has attracted more than 2,000 comments. Most internet users also share the pain of being constantly urged to get married by adults in the family.
During the Lunar New Year, when young people living in big cities return to their hometowns to celebrate Tet, intergenerational conflicts over getting married become increasingly acute. While the older generation wants their children to get married and have children earlier, the younger generation tends to marry later or delay marriage for various reasons.
This problem often stems from the pressure of daily life and lack of social support. In addition, in many underdeveloped areas, the practice of challenging a wedding – the groom’s family must pay a large sum of money to the bride’s family for permission to marry – still exists, making many people reluctant to marry.
One social media user expressed his opinion: “People who marry arbitrarily have mental problems”.
“Why are we being treated like criminals by our families just because we don’t get married?” another said.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s population is 1.411 billion in 2022, down 850,000 from the previous year. At the same time, the birth rate fell to a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000 people. About 9.56 million babies will be born in 2022, compared with 10.62 million the year before. Policymakers are increasingly concerned about the impact the growing demographic crisis could have on China’s economic growth.
China has announced a series of measures to encourage families to have more children as the country’s birth rate has dropped to a record low.
In 2015, China decided to scrap its decades-old one-child policy amid concerns that its rapidly aging population and shrinking workforce could threaten economic and social stability. festival. China has relaxed its population policy allowing each couple to have a third child.
Local authorities are also lifting restrictions on birth registration for children born to unmarried parents. In February, Sichuan province announced it would allow single parents to register the births of their children, a move that gives single parents access to benefits previously available only to couples. couple. These benefits include maternity insurance that covers prenatal health care, delivery-related medical expenses, and paid maternity leave.