In an interracial romance, all that should matter is love

By Catherine Valley Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/19 18:48:39

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Chinese media recently focused its attentions on 28-year-old Chen Jingyang, a Heilongjiang man who married a 22-year-old Russian girl, Sophia, in Heihe city near the Siberian border.

Chinese people marrying foreigners has not been a thing until recently. But today, friendship or love between Asians and Westerners has turned to a new intriguing phenomenon catching people's attention.

Whenever such a couple is seen strolling hand-in-hand down the streets of Anycity, China, local passers-by tend to observe keenly not unlike the audience at a horse track race while making comments about their cultural differences, language barriers, social and financial status and other such presumptions.

International marriages are, indeed, considered to be something difficult to handle due to any number of cultural contradictions. But now that the prevalence of Western fashion has led to the transformation of China's modern social standards, dating and marrying has become both common and trendy.

At this point, the flow and abundance of exotic faces - particularly magnetic girls of other nationalities - seen around international centers such as Shanghai have enhanced their popularity and desirability.

To please their readers and viewers, Chinese media have in turn given more coverage to foreign beauties. Ginger-headed boys and blue-eyed beauties smiling from billboards are presented as "the new ideals of beauty."

Chinese companies also hire foreigners to decorate their boardrooms and offices just to make themselves seem "cosmopolitan." For promotional reasons, many Shanghai clubs and bars offer free drinks and VIP seating to foreigners to draw Chinese customers.

While, say, Americans or Brits would simmer with rage at this distinction between races, Chinese girls and boys seem to have nothing against such mistreatment. Clubs patronized by foreigners do tend to be more attractive to Chinese, just as ads with foreigners tend to increase sales and TV shows and movies to get higher ratings and more ticket-paying audiences if there is a foreign star in it.

Apparently Chinese people enjoy looking at white faces even more than their own. But apart from this glorification and romanticization of Westerners, I doubt if foreigners of different backgrounds and cultural norms would praise the same ideals.

That is to say, foreigners do not specifically target Chinese people as love interests. We date purely out of romantic interest and marry purely for love. So when I read the Chinese media article about the Chinese man marrying a Russian woman, all I saw was "Chinese coal miner has no apartment, no car, but Russian woman married him for love."

Why would the author of that article emphasize a man's property when discussing his new wife? As a Russian woman myself I find this offensive. The hidden meaning seemed to accuse all Russian girls of pragmatism, making them falsely famous for considering men's income as the most important factor for making a choice.

In fact, Russians do not really listen to their parents or follow tradition when choosing a wife/husband. The freedom to choose a partner without parental involvement allows Russian women to follow our hearts. What is more, young Russian girls tend to fall madly in love with men who might not seem like a perfect match. In Russia, where getting rich may take time for both women and men, they nonetheless never seem to have any problem finding a mate.

In our modern society, regardless of cultural dimensions and social standards, when it comes to marriage, any of the most sophisticated blood ties might consider variables other than love, such as money, education, accommodation, contacts and culture. But there is no reason to emphasize the fact that a Chinese husband's misfortune has not prevented him from marrying a white woman.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.


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