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In many ways, dating shows became a powerful way to facilitate these changes.
By looking at the development of Chinese television dating shows, we can see how love and marriage changed from a ritualized system mired in the past to the liberated, Western-style version we see today.
More than ever before, networks needed to produce entertaining shows that attracted audiences.
It was during this period that dating shows started to transform, depicting live, on-air matchmaking and dates between single males females.
Pan Wang does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
University of Technology Sydney provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.
But China’s 1978 “Open Door Policy,” which transitioned the country from a rigid, centrally planned economy to a global, market-based economy, exposed the Chinese people to an array of outside cultural influences.
Meanwhile, the country’s 1980 marriage law codified, for the first time, freedom to marry and gender equality.
Economic liberalization had loosened restrictions for what could appear on the airwaves, but there was now the added pressure of turning a profit.But over the past 30 years, these customs have been upended.I’ve studied how traditional Chinese marriage rituals have evolved in response to globalization.For single people, they’re a platform for seeking potential spouses; for fans, they’re the subject of gossip and dissection; for the cultural elites, they’re a topic for derision; and for the government, they’re a target for surveillance.Compared with Western cultures, China has traditionally had a vastly different value system towards marriages and family.