Young and in Love in China

January 20, 2011

Kellie Schmitt of CNN Go Asia wrote, “Love & Other Catastrophes: Conquering China’s young-love taboo“.

The China that Western Sinophobes, gossips and stereotypes paint is not today’s China. Anyone that reads this Blog regularly knows that China is not the “Party” but is the people. That’s why it is called the People’s Republic of China.

In fact, Schmitt is a Shanghai-based writer whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist’s Business China, Marie Claire, World Hum and Backpacker. I haven’t read all that she has written but this piece was worth mentioning.

If you want to learn about China, you would have to travel to China often or live there as an expatriate as Schmitt has. Marrying into a Chinese family also helps.

While living in China, Schmitt moonlighted as a restaurant reviewer for City Weekend Shanghai. She’s gone falcon hunting in Yunnan, drank fermented mare’s milk in a Mongolian yurt, and attended a mail-order bride’s wedding and donned qipaos with Shanghai’s senior citizens.

Another example of being young in urban China. The world this generation knows is not the world their parents grew up in.

Instead of playing it safe and staying primarily in modern China around other foreigners and expatriates as many do, Schmitt has “tasted” what being Chinese means.

Schmitt has written often of China. Visit her profile page to see topics she’s written of from Shanghai’s lesbian sub-culture to debates held at the 15th century Sera Monastery by Lhasa monks.

As for young love, Kellie Schmitt writes, “In Shanghai, teachers and parents widely prohibit dating in high school, urging students to study instead.”

But for Enid and Michael (the couple Schmitt writes of), their love was “worth a little sneaking around”. That was when they were sixteen.

When they turned 22, they were still together and got married. When Schmitt wrote the post for CNN Go Asia, Enid and Michael were 26. As in all marriages, Enid and Michael have had their difficulties but it appears love has kept them dedicated to each other and together. I recommend Schmitt’s post to learn more of how China is changing.

Discover more of China’s Sexual Revolution


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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