Twice this month the Chinese media has run wide-eyed reports on couples forced into lockdowns together despite barely knowing each other.
In one case in the central Henanese city of Zhengzhou, a woman identified as Ms Wang went on a blind date with a man selected by her parents. As a keen cook, the suitor invited her to his apartment to impress her with a bit of lunch. However, in the time it took to enjoy the meal, the host’s home was declared a quarantine zone after the discovery of a Covid-19 case locally. Ms Wang, who wasn’t particularly enthused about her date, was unable to leave.
“He is as mute as a wooden mannequin,” she complained in a video posted to Douyin three days into their lockdown.
More than two years into the pandemic, China continues to pursue a ‘zero-Covid’ policy of mass testing and widespread lockdowns. Eleven cases of Covid were enough to trigger mass testing of all 12 million Zhengzhou residents earlier this month, while the northern city of Xi’an – population 13 million – only emerged from a month-long lockdown this week. In total 2,100 people in the city were found to have had the virus.
Ms Wang’s posts went viral because they spoke to two hot-button issues: the challenges of finding a spouse and the severity of China’s Covid management policy (see WiC564 for reaction to the brutal tale of the bludgeoned corgi).
Ms Wang explained she was 31 years old and had enlisted the help of her family to find a suitable partner. Normally based in Guangzhou, she had travelled to Zhengzhou for a series of 10 back-to-back dates, four of which had been completed before her movements were restricted.
As she made more social media posts from her suitor’s house, Wang began to build a larger following, with many netizens hoping that love might bloom, even though the two singletons were clearly incompatible.
Ms Wang explained that the man was good and honest. He wasn’t waking her up in the mornings and he was doing all the housework. But ultimately a lack of conversation seemed to be the biggest stumbling block (he was offering fewer than 10 sentences day, she lamented).
For a second couple in Shaanxi, however, love did flourish after the woman was locked down inside an apartment with her date and his whole family – on only the second occasion that they had met.
The woman, 28 year-old Zhao Xiaoqing, told Jimu News that she wasn’t particularly interested in her (now) fiancé when she went to see him in mid-December but that living together had shown her how compatible they were.
Even so, she still felt it was “too rushed” when the man’s parents started saying the two should get engaged after just a week of enforced family cohabitation.
But by the time they had spent an unexpected month together, Ms Zhao didn’t want to go home – which is either an indicator of true love or a sign of Stockholm Syndrome…
Anyway, the couple will marry this summer, they said.
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