Many Chinese women have shrugged off the spy warning—but say relationships between Chinese women and foreign men are anything but smooth.
It is certainly much more common for Chinese women to date foreign men than in my parents’ generation, thanks to Chinese nationals heading overseas for schools and foreigners flocking to Beijing, Shanghai, and other big cities to learn Mandarin and add Chinese experience to their resumes.
A recent Chinese propaganda campaign about national security uses a comic called “Dangerous Love” to warn Chinese women not to date foreigners.
Li, a college graduate who works for the government, meets red-haired, beak-nosed David, who claims he is an academic, at a friend’s gathering.
It’s not always about finding love so much as it is about finding a potential marriage partner who fits with one’s own ideals.
For example, although many men get married without a house and a car, Chinese women will often say that they’re looking for these things because that’s the sort of person who probably has a stable career and will be able to provide for her and their future children in the long-term. As one contestant on China’s most popular dating show put it, "I’d rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle." Every parent is different, of course, but in general Chinese parents expect to be more involved in their children’s relationships.
But while dating seems to be on the rise, marriage is still unusual—thanks to political differences that are often irreconcilable, according to the women I spoke to, who were all between 21 and 25, prime age to start looking for a husband in China.
Unlike some other young couples, Jean said, they talked a lot about serious topics, including Chinese politics.
“I wondered how he thought as a foreigner,” she said, and her ex wanted to know the same.
As you may expect, dating is a little bit different in China than it is in most Western countries.
The basics are the same—people are people everywhere—but there are still a few differences regarding culture and social cues to note.