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Chinese village rewards matchmakers to boost marriage rate

By Xu Zhesheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-27 22:48

A village in Baoji, Shaanxi province, has decided to reward matchmakers who help unmarried young men in the village tie the knot. This is an effort to address the issue of an increasing number of single men and boost the birthrate.

The Xiangjiazhuang village committee will give a reward of 1,000 yuan ($140) for each marriage they facilitate. The program will start on Jan 1 next year and will continue for three years.

The decision was made because of the increasing number of unmarried young men in the village, the committee said.

According to a village official, there are more than 40 unmarried young men between the ages of 25 and 40 in the village, which has around 270 households.

The official said there were only 7 to 8 births in the village this year, compared to around 16 to 17 annually in previous years.

The money will come from the village's collective funds as agreed unanimously at a village meeting.

Xiangjiazhuang is not the first village to introduce such reward programs for matchmakers. Earlier this year, Qiaozhuang village in Wuzhi, Henan province, implemented a similar program. The village committee allocated 20,000 yuan annually to reward matchmakers with 1,000 yuan for each successful couple they facilitated.

Similarly, Shaanxi's Langao county established a service center this year to reward matchmakers with 1,000 yuan for each successful match, with an annual maximum reward of 5,000 yuan for each matchmaker.

Gui Hua, a sociology professor at Wuhan University, told Red Star News that these measures can be effective on a small scale. They harness the power of social capital to encourage matchmaking in rural areas.

However, Gui said the marriage challenges are rooted in structural factors such as gender imbalances, which are difficult to change.

"Village officials have good intentions, so there is no need to have high expectations or criticize them for inadequate outcomes," he said.

The village's initiative is part of a broader trend in China of using financial incentives to encourage marriage and childbirth. The government has also introduced a number of other policies, such subsidies for new births, in an effort to reverse the country's declining birthrate.

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