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Marriage was viewed as a contract between two households, and it was for the purpose of procreation, not love.Thought to contribute to peace and stability, it was the dominant custom into the latter half of the 20th century.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.These new shows were ways for singles to get to know each other in a fun, flirty environment.And for those who had little dating experience, it was a model for courtship; soon, the viewing public was able to reconceptualize ideas of love, relationships and marriage.Strategies dating shows adopted included hiring polished hosts, borrowing set designs and show formats from Western reality shows, and incorporating technology to better interact with audience members and TV viewers at home.Some shows started collaborating with online dating websites like and to attract participants and viewers.
View the full list Today, dating shows are an important ingredient in China’s cultural diet, with popular shows like “If You Are the One” and “One Out of a Hundred” attracting millions of viewers.
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.
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.