Exporting Romance

When I first read Tom Carter’s guest post about Harlequin Romance Invades China, my first thought was China is doomed.

First, American fast food arrived and now China is having a weight problem leading to poor health and the explosion of China’s Fat Camps.

Then there is America’s car culture, which is catching on fast in a country that doesn’t have the strict environmental pollution laws that have existed in the US for decades, and most of urban China is choked with smog.

Now, I learn that romance American style has arrived in China as another blow to China’s ability to survive as a civilization. Weren’t the 19th century Opium Wars bad enough?

Eating fast food that destroys health, smoking cigarettes, reading Harlequin Romances and driving carbon-spewing cars cannot be a good thing.

Is this how “democracy” is going to make life better for the Chinese?

Since Harlequin romance novels flew into China on collagen-filled lips, attitudes toward love has changed.

“According to Enjoy Reading Era, a Beijing-based cultural company specializing in publishing romantic novels, 1,500 love stories by writers in the mainland were published last year, an all-time high. The same company exported 50 romance novels to Hong Kong and Taiwan, while it only imported three novels from Taiwan.” Source: Show China.org

Reading romance novels may explain the increase in the divorce rate in China and the high divorce rate in the US. After all, how can any real man compare to the ink and paper men on the pages of a Harlequin romance novel?

However, I may be wrong about what the West has exported to China. Thanks to romance novels, China may no longer need the one-child policy since all those wheezing, unhealthy fat people driving cars instead of riding bicycles or walking will be reading trashy romance novels instead of making love.

This may end China’s population challenges.

In fact, GM and Ford are making huge profits in China as is McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Even Hooters is in China along with Wal-Mart.

Think of the profits these American corporations are earning to help make the rich richer.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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