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Finding a spouse in a Chinese marriage market
Thousands of singles search for partners each Sunday at a park-based marriage market in bustling Shanghai.
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2013 12:26
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Shanghai, China - "Single male: born in 1969 under the Chinese zodiac of the monkey, height 170cm, a non-smoking, non-drinking, only child seeks a wife 35 to 40 years of age, around 160cm tall, healthy, never married, with a stable job.”

So reads a hand-written advertisement held by the man's mother at Shanghai's marriage market at People's Square in Shanghai. Competition for a spouse is fierce, but this prospective groom comes with a sweetener: a two bedroom apartment, paid out in full.

Thousands of singles search for partners each Sunday at the site of Shanghai's former race course. While parents hold placards or browse the long rows of classifieds that line the paths of this leafy park, the singles themselves are curiously absent.

"Children find it embarrassing to be advertised here, it's a loss of face” says Jiang Jin, 38, an office worker who says she has come to the market out of curiosity. "It's the parents who arranged this market. They're the ones who come here.”

A five-month advertisement costs about $3.20. Unlimited phone numbers can be obtained from marriage brokers for a registration fee of $16.

High standards

Although marriage is serious business, the market is also a social outlet for concerned parents, the vast majority of whom raised their children under China's one-child policy. Long conversations are often struck up with complete strangers with the familiar question: "So, do you have a son or a daughter?”

Mrs Hu, who declined to give her second name, claims to be on her third visit to the market to find a wife for her 34-year-old son, a university graduate and bank employee. With women representing 80 percent of singles advertised at the market, Hu is at an advantage, but she has exacting standards.

Her ideal daughter-in-law is between 164-168cm, three years younger than her 182 cm son, with a similar education and income level.

Additionally, a prospective spouse must be a compatible sign of the Chinese zodiac for her son, who was born in the inauspicious year of the goat. "As soon as I hear a daughter's age, I instantly calculate their horoscope to see whether they are a horse, pig or rabbit,” Hu says.

Yet the mother shows no outward signs of doubt that she will find a match for her son, although she has neglected to bring a photo of him. "Everyone says he's handsome,” she insists. "He's outstanding.”


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Visitors to the marriage market at People's Square view the thousands of marriage classified ads on display. The registration fee for a marriage broker is $16, while a five-month advert costs $3.20.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Young women browse rows of marriage ads strung up at the wedding market at People's Square. The market has been in operation since 2004 on the site of a former race course.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Hundreds of people pack the park each Sunday looking to find a spouse.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Mr Tsai exchanges numbers to put one of his nieces in touch with the son of Mrs Hu. After a quick conversation, it was decided that Tsai's niece, a 28-year-old Singapore-based aircraft mechanical engineer with Singaporean citizenship, may be a good match for Hu's 34-year-old son, a bank employee.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Marriage seekers, or perhaps just the curious, chat as they shelter from the rain beneath a small pavilion at People's Square.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Advertisements for children as marriage prospects at the market. Parents gather at this park in downtown Shanghai each week in the hope of matching their offspring with desirable partners.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Curious onlookers examine advertisements for prospective spouses at People's Square.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
A crowd of parents mingle with marriage brokers at the market; the gathering is a social outlet for many regular visitors.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
A couple browses rows of classifieds for marriage-seekers. About 80 percent of singles advertised are women.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
A Chinese man scours the ads, numbering in the hundreds, in Shanghai for a prospective partner.


Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Competition for a spouse is fierce as thousands of singles vie for attention each Sunday.



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images:
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captions:
Visitors to the marriage market at People(***)s Square view the thousands of marriage classified ads on display. The registration fee for a marriage broker is $16, while a five-month advert costs $3.20. ;*;Young women browse rows of marriage ads strung up at the wedding market at People(***)s Square. The market has been in operation since 2004 on the site of a former race course.;*;Hundreds of people pack the park each Sunday looking to find a spouse. ;*;Mr Tsai exchanges numbers to put one of his nieces in touch with the son of Mrs Hu. After a quick conversation, it was decided that Tsai(***)s niece, a 28-year-old Singapore-based aircraft mechanical engineer with Singaporean citizenship, may be a good match for Hu(***)s 34-year-old son, a bank employee.;*;Marriage seekers, or perhaps just the curious, chat as they shelter from the rain beneath a small pavilion at People(***)s Square.;*;Advertisements for children as marriage prospects at the market. Parents gather at this park in downtown Shanghai each week in the hope of matching their offspring with desirable partners.;*;Curious onlookers examine advertisements for prospective spouses at People(***)s Square.;*;A crowd of parents mingle with marriage brokers at the market; the gathering is a social outlet for many regular visitors.;*;A couple browses rows of classifieds for marriage-seekers. About 80 percent of singles advertised are women.;*;A Chinese man scours the ads, numbering in the hundreds, in Shanghai for a prospective partner.;*;Competition for a spouse is fierce as thousands of singles vie for attention each Sunday. Daylife ID:
1364284673563
Photographer:
Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon;*;Dave Tacon
Image Source:
Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Shanghai Marriage Markethttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Marketen-usAl Jazeerafeedback@daylife.com10Tue, 26 Mar 2013 07:57:54 GMTWed, 03 Apr 2013 11:18:16 GMT http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0aoO6Y5dGoeNi

Visitors to the marriage market at People's Square view the thousands of marriage classified ads on display. The registration fee for a marriage broker is $16, while a five-month advert costs $3.20.

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0aoO6Y5dGoeNiDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Visitors to the marriage market at People's Square view the thousands of marriage classified ads on display. The registration fee for a marriage broker is $16, while a five-month advert costs $3.20.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=090r7YmeAJ2j1

Young women browse rows of marriage ads strung up at the wedding market at People's Square. The market has been in operation since 2004 on the site of a former racecourse.

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=090r7YmeAJ2j1Dave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Young women browse rows of marriage ads strung up at the wedding market at People's Square. The market has been in operation since 2004 on the site of a former racecourse.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0fnhd0u6x3dHj

Hundreds of people pack the park each Sunday looking to find a spouse.

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0fnhd0u6x3dHjDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Hundreds of people pack the park each Sunday looking to find a spouse.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=03gGe3E5Xs8yo

Mr Tsai, (left), exchanges numbers to put one of his nieces in touch with the son of Mrs Hu, (right). After a quick conversation, it was decided that Tsai's niece, a 28-year-old Singapore-based aircraft mechanical engineer with Singaporean citizenship, may be a good match for Hu's 34-year-old son, a bank employee.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:11:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=03gGe3E5Xs8yoDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Mr Tsai, (left), exchanges numbers to put one of his nieces in touch with the son of Mrs Hu, (right). After a quick conversation, it was decided that Tsai's niece, a 28-year-old Singapore-based aircraft mechanical engineer with Singaporean citizenship, may be a good match for Hu's 34-year-old son, a bank employee.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=09UpcBzeTM3AI

Marriage seekers, or perhaps just the curious, chat as they shelter from the rain beneath a small pavilion at People's Square.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:07:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=09UpcBzeTM3AIDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Marriage seekers, or perhaps just the curious, chat as they shelter from the rain beneath a small pavilion at People's Square.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=06hGfUZe788BD

Advertisements for children as marriage prospects at the market for matrimony. Parents gather at this park in downtown Shanghai each week in the hope of matching their offspring with desirable partners.

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=06hGfUZe788BDDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Advertisements for children as marriage prospects at the market for matrimony. Parents gather at this park in downtown Shanghai each week in the hope of matching their offspring with desirable partners.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=023LdxB9hk7XA

Curious passersby examine advertisements for prospective spouses  at People's Square.

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=023LdxB9hk7XADave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Curious passersby examine advertisements for prospective spouses  at People's Square.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=09Dr8ImdjNdVy

A crowd of parents mingle with marriage brokers at the market at People's Square. As well as a market for unmarried children, the gathering is also a social outlet for many regular visitors.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:12:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=09Dr8ImdjNdVyDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

A crowd of parents mingle with marriage brokers at the market at People's Square. As well as a market for unmarried children, the gathering is also a social outlet for many regular visitors.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0evt4xU6MOdlH

A couple browses rows of classifieds for marriage-seekers. About 80 percent of singles advertised are women.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:11:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0evt4xU6MOdlHDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

A couple browses rows of classifieds for marriage-seekers. About 80 percent of singles advertised are women.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0b9J1AM6232Xg

A Chinese man scours the ads, numbering in the hundreds, in Shanghai for a prospective partner.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:11:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0b9J1AM6232XgDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

A Chinese man scours the ads, numbering in the hundreds, in Shanghai for a prospective partner.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0fTjdkXg3tdzt

Competition for a spouse is fierce as thousands of singles vie for attention each Sunday.

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:07:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Shanghai-Marriage-Market?image_id=0fTjdkXg3tdztDave TaconAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Competition for a spouse is fierce as thousands of singles vie for attention each Sunday.



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