How love is changing China one couple at a time

June 23, 2015

Five years ago Kellie Schmitt wrote,Love & Other Catastrophes: Conquering China’s young-love taboo, and she blew up the Western stereotype of the Chinese.

In fact, at the time Schmitt was a Shanghai-based writer whose work had appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist’s Business China, Marie Claire, World Hum, Afar Magazine, and Backpacker. I haven’t read all of her work, but this piece was worth sharing.

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

While living in China, Schmitt moonlighted as a restaurant reviewer for City Weekend Shanghai. She went 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 “tasted” what being Chinese really means, and she wrote often of China 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 Chinese couple Schmitt writes about—their love was “worth a little sneaking around” 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. Today, they would be in their thirties. As in all marriages, Enid and Michael have had challenges but it appears that love kept them together. I recommend Schmitt’s story to learn more about how China is changing.

Kellie Schmitt now lives in California’s Central Valley.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The Rise of China’s Romance Film Industry

April 23, 2013

Romance is filling screens in China, and Tom Carter showed us how the Western Romeo and Juliet concept of romance got its start in China in 1995 when Harlequin (US  Romance publisher) received permission “to bring romance to millions of Chinese women”.

That beginning grew to more than a thousand romance novels written by mainland Chinese authors last year.

The growing interest in fictional romance has also spilled seriously into mainland Chinese film.

Cfensi (a source for Chinese entertainment news) says that recently, modern day romance movies in China have taken off. “Cinema goers in China want the choice of light-hearted entertainment from the cinema, and the Chinese film industry is rapidly accommodating that niche in the market.”


Interview with Tony Leung, who often plays the leading man in movies with beautiful actresses.

In fact, one star benefiting from this demand for romance may be “Tony Leung (who) has been called the Clark Gable of Asia, and it’s not hard to see why: he’s handsome, with the enviable frame of a man who can put on anything knowing it will both flatter him and fit him.” Source: The Times.uk

Then Tiger Cinema offers a list of Chinese Romance movies with links to “try now”. The titles for a few of these movies are revealing: If You Are the OneSome Like It HotAll About womenL For Love – L For LiesCall For Love, and My DNA Says I Love You.

The summary for If You Are the One says, “A story about love in comical situations depicts how difficult it often is to find the right person, but also how often we don’t realize it when love hits us at the most unexpected times.”

Cfensi says, “With China’s total box office up 44% in 2009, and 1.65 cinema screens added per day, with no signs of slowly down, this should only be one sign to look forward to of the growing diversification of China’s rapidly rising film industry.”

_______________

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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Exporting Romance

April 22, 2013

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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The Growth of Romance in China: Part 2/2

April 16, 2013

The segment of Al Jazeeera’s report on Maggie Gu’s “Romance Chinese Style” starts with the sound of violins at a wedding banquet.

The narrator says, “Chinese weddings today combine east and west both in customs and in costumes. However, the all-important wedding banquet must start before twelve to avoid bad luck.”

China’s open society is learning about love and romance.

However, it is also discovering the agony of divorce since in the last two decades the divorce rate in China has taken flight but is still far from the divorce rate in the US.

Divorce has become so common, that it led to a popular, award winning TV drama called called “Chinese-Style Divorce”, which is the story of a woman losing her husband due to jealousy. This program struck a chord with millions of Chinese viewers.

The producer/director of Chinese-Style Divorce went through a divorce the year before he started filming. Many in the production crew were also divorced.

Lost love in China has also created opportunities in a new divorce industry leading to lawyers that specialize in divorce.

While Chinese laws have made divorce much easier, Chinese culture is still having a difficult time adjusting to the shock that comes with divorce.

Today, marriage in China is more than just sticking it out through hard times. These days young couples want harmony, happiness and romance, which means when marriage becomes torture there is no hesitation to divorce.

However, there are still differences between Chinese and US marriages. In China, many expect their new mate to show respect and support for parents. Chinese parents may also become involved in playing cupid for their children.

Return to The Growth of Romance in China: Part 1

_______________

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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Modern Romance in China – Part 2/2

December 10, 2010

The segment of Al Jazeeera’s report on Maggie Gu’s “Romance Chinese Style” starts with the sound of violins at a wedding banquet.

The narrator says, “Chinese weddings today combine east and west both in customs and in costumes. However, the all-important wedding banquet must start before twelve to avoid bad luck.”

China’s open society is learning about love and romance.

However, it is also discovering the agony of divorce since in the last two decades the divorce rate in China has taken flight but is still far from the divorce rate in the US.

Divorce has become so common, that it led to a popular, award winning TV drama called called “Chinese-Style Divorce”, which is the story of a woman losing her husband due to jealousy. This program struck a chord with millions of Chinese viewers.

The producer/director of Chinese-Style Divorce went through a divorce the year before he started filming. Many in the production crew were also divorced.

China’s loss of love has also created opportunities in a new divorce industry leading to lawyers that specialize in divorce.

While Chinese laws have made divorce much easier, Chinese culture is still having a difficult time adjusting to the shock that comes with divorce.

Today, marriage in China is more than just sticking it out through hard times. These days young couples want harmony, happiness and romance, which means when marriage becomes torture there is no hesitation to divorce.

However, there are still differences between Chinese and US marriages. In China, many expect their new mate to show respect and support for parents. Chinese parents may also become involved in playing cupid for their children.

Return to Modern Romance in China – Part 1

______________

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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Modern Romance in China – Part 1/2

December 10, 2010

There is a saying in China that, “Where there’s love, there is a way.”

However, for some, it isn’t that easy. High paid white-collar jobs in China are demanding and leave little time for romance.

However, with western style romance novels and romantic movies leading the way, hearing the word “love” is becoming common but there are other challenges to overcome.

Although China’s open economy has made many people rich, “love” is still a hard word to say since most Asians are more reserved than westerners are.

“Romance Chinese Style” is a film by first-time director Maggie Gu that takes a close look at the romance industry in China that is helping to overcome this shortage of time and abundance of shyness.

Al Jazeera English reports on Maggie Gu’s film and looks at on-line dating, blind dates, double dates, and speed dating that have become popular in China today.

Since China opened to the West, it is a country in a hurry. Where cars replaced bicycles, fashionable outfits replaced Mao uniforms, the pursuit of romance replaced Party loyalty.

Along the way, in 2007, China’s first speed dating club opened its doors.

In fact, speed dating originated in the US, but the idea traveled to China where for a small fee speed dating takes place over the Internet leading to digital love.

This service allows busy members of China’s growing upper-middle class to meet potential mates, and since many Chinese find it difficult to express their feelings freely, there are new schools where these wealthy professionals discover how to express themselves in the language of romance.

Go to Modern Romance in China – Part 2

______________

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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar


Cinema Romance Gaining Popularity in China

December 9, 2010

Romance is in the air in China’s cinemas, and Tom Carter showed us how the Western Romeo and Juliet concept of romance got its start in China in 1995 when Harlequin (US  Romance publisher) received permission “to bring romance to millions of Chinese women”.

That beginning grew to more than a thousand romance novels written by mainland Chinese authors last year.

The growing interest in fictional romance has also spilled seriously into mainland Chinese film.

Cfensi (a source for Chinese entertainment news) says that recently, modern day romance movies in China have taken off. “Cinema goers in China want the choice of light-hearted entertainment from the cinema, and the Chinese film industry is rapidly accommodating that niche in the market.”


Interview with Tony Leung, who often plays the leading man in movies with beautiful actresses.

In fact, one star benefiting from this demand for romance may be “Tony Leung (who) has been called the Clark Gable of Asia, and it’s not hard to see why: he’s handsome, with the enviable frame of a man who can put on anything knowing it will both flatter him and fit him.” Source: The Times.uk

Then Tiger Cinema offers a list of Chinese Romance movies with links to “try now”. The titles for a few of these movies are revealing: If You Are the One, Some Like It Hot, All About women, L For Love – L For Lies, Call For Love, and My DNA Says I Love You.

The summary for If You Are the One says, “A story about love in comical situations depicts how difficult it often is to find the right person, but also how often we don’t realize it when love hits us at the most unexpected times.”

Cfensi says, “With China’s total box office up 44% in 2009, and 1.65 cinema screens added per day, with no signs of slowly down, this should only be one sign to look forward to of the growing diversification of China’s rapidly rising film industry.”

______________

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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.