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In a country where technology rules the lives of the new generation, there still survives an ancient tradition, in which parents with single children look for a perfect partner for their kids.


Hao, born in 1978 and living in New Zealand, measures 1.77 meters (5 feet 8 inches) and weighs 70 kilograms (154 pounds). He has a good salary, properties and was awarded a prize for being a good scholar. Interested girls can contact his mother by telephone.

Hao’s advertisement is one of thousands of others littering the Shanghai People’s Park, lying on the sidewalk, the stairs or plastered to umbrellas.

It is noon in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai and the People’s Park is in full ebullience. As Valentine’s Day approaches, hundreds of people have come to the park to see if any of the personal advertisements perk their interest.

“I come here every time I can, it is the largest dating market in Shanghai. I want to help my daughter as I think she may have fewer options available abroad,” Shen Xiaping, who has a 30-year-old single daughter working in Spain, told EFE.

“It is an ancient Chinese tradition, we want our daughters to settle down,” added Shen, who visits the park almost every week to look for potential candidates.

Although the park is mentioned as a tourist attraction in several tourist guides, photography and tourists are not always welcome, as the parents take their mission very seriously.

“Shanghai girls demand a lot from boys, they want a very high standard of living,” 26-year-old engineer Yuanbin Xiao told EFE.

There are youngsters in the market but it is the parents who visit more frequently, as they do not want their children to choose to remain single, an escalating trend according to statistics.

Traditionally, not being married has been seen as an abnormality and a stigma in China; however it is changing gradually, mostly in bigger cities where being single is no longer frowned upon.

According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the number of singles in the country shot up from 6 percent in 1990 to almost 15 percent in 2016, which is about 200 million people. Among other factors, the rise is attributed to increased economic and social independence of women.

Though men in China are still considered the family breadwinners, the number of women with good jobs who do not want to get married is on the upswing. According to an article published by the local Shanghai Daily, 36 percent of single Chinese women are not looking for a husband.

In fact, many of the singles “auctioned” in markets, including the People’s Park, do not even know that their parents frequent the venue, spending hours in the cold to contemplate in vain a different future for their children.

February 13, 2017, EFE/Practica Español

Grammar notes/a>: ‘para’ and ‘para que’, uses of ‘alguno’, ‘uno’, ‘ninguno’

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Comprensión del vídeo B.2 (Listening B.2)

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Question 1
El vídeo habla de...
Un nuevo método para encontrar pareja.
La pervivencia de una antigua tradición china.
Una moda reciente en China.
Question 2
¿Cuál es la finalidad de estos mercados?
Mejorar la relación entre padres e hijos.
Encontrar un futuro cónyuge.
Conocer a una persona para vivir un romance.
Question 3
En el vídeo se dice que...
Casi nadie va a estos mercados.
Ese mercado está abarrotado de gente.
Estos mercados se encuentran a las afueras de la ciudad.
Question 4
Según el vídeo, los progenitores...
Quieren evitar que sus vástagos se casen.
Respetan que sus vástagos sean solteros.
No aceptan que su descendencia no se case.
Question 5
En el vídeo se dice que...
Cada vez hay más bodas en China.
Los progenitores cada vez son más respetuosos con las decisiones de sus hijos.
Los jóvenes cada vez prefieren más la soltería que la vida matrimonial.
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