Woman forced to stay in apartment of blind date for days after rapid lockdown in Chinese city of Zhengzhou

This might be the most “awkward” blind date ever.

When an immediate lockdown was announced in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou on Sunday, a woman known as Ms Wang found herself trapped in the apartment of a man she had just met.

As she was “getting quite old”, Ms. Wang’s parents set her up for 10 blind dates, she said in a vlog on Chinese social media platform WeChat.

She had flown from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, before the Lunar New Year for the intensive week of blind dating.

This particular date, number five, “wanted to show off his cooking skills and we decided to have dinner at his house,” Ms Wang said.

“It was good when I arrived. Then after dinner, when I was about to leave, the COVID situation in Zhengzhou suddenly deteriorated.

Ms. Wang says her blind date works, cooks and cleans every day. (WeChat)

Ms Wang was stuck in the man’s house for several days and it was “not ideal”, according to local media.

“Living in the apartment with someone you barely knew made me feel so uncomfortable and embarrassed,” she said.

“He talks very little, like a wooden man, but I think that’s fine too, I’m quite capable of living well.”

Ms Wang, whose exact age is unknown but believed to have been born in the 1990s, added that her date worked every day and cared for her by cooking and cleaning.

And she said that even though her cooking skills were just like that, she gave her a boost for her efforts.

It is not known whether Ms. Wang is staying in her blind date apartment, but parts of Henan Province are still under lockdown.

According to state media, Zhengzhou reported more than 100 COVID-19 cases last week.

China’s Harsh Zero COVID Policy

China continues to take a zero-tolerance approach to COVID, with millions of residents confined to their homes under strict lockdown measures imposed in recent weeks.

Residents of the city of Xi’an, confined since December 23, have been forced to barter for food and basic necessities.

The lockdown initially allowed people to leave their homes every other day to buy basic items, but it has since been tightened, with rules varying in each district depending on the severity of the outbreak.

This month, Yuzhou, a city of 1.1 million people, was locked down after only three asymptomatic cases of COVID were discovered.

The lockdown in Anyang, home to 5.5 million people, brought the number of people confined to their homes in China to around 20 million on Monday.

Anyang was taken into custody after only two cases of the Omicron variant were reported.

A culture of blind dates

Parents who arrange blind dates for their unmarried children are not uncommon in China.

Some will even prepare a type of dating resume with their child’s credentials to have on hand to pass on to other parents.

Dr. Pan Wang, senior lecturer in Chinese and Asian studies at UNSW, said that these days in China, a growing number of young adults “of marriageable age” are still single.

“A lot of single adults belong to the generation of the 1980s and 1990s born under the one-child policy in 1979,” she said.

“The one-child policy has resulted in a skewed sex ratio in the marriage market.”

A woman in a blue top stands in front of a wooden wall.
Dr. Wang says many parents think it is their responsibility to find a partner for their unmarried children.(Provided: Pan Wang)

There are currently about 17.52 million older men between the ages of 20 and 40 than women, or 108.9 men for every 100 women, according to recent data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Dr. Wang said many of these men and women are “crowded out” of the local marriage market because of where they live or because they choose to focus on their education and career.

These unmarried adults, called “shengnan” (remaining men) and “shengnv” (remaining women) have become a concern for their families and society.

“Parents normally do good research on the dates/partners they want their kids to meet, i.e. family background, education level, occupation.”

Some young adults are happy to meet their potential dates arranged by their parents, while others develop their own strategies to avoid being forced into marriage.

“They post on social media looking to hire a date they can bring to their family reunion over the New Year holidays,” Dr. Wang said.

“It has now become a fashionable practice among young adults, either in order to avoid having parents arrange a blind date during the [lunar] New Year’s Festival or for other purposes.”

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Ms. Wang will continue to fight for love

Ms Wang’s vlog updates from the lockdown have gone viral in China, with social media users reacting to the bizarre story of “love made by God”.

“COVID is becoming a ‘matchmaker,'” one Weibo user said.

“Married by act of God,” another commented.

Ms Wang thanked her social media followers for their concern to find a successful partner, saying she remained optimistic.

“I’m going to do my best and fight for things,” she said.

“Finally, I hope the epidemic will end soon, and then all the single sisters will get married soon.”

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