BEIJING, Aug. 9 -- Hundreds of local women who signed up for the chance to attend a matchmaking party with 11 single or divorced men visiting town for a week from the United States have had their hearts broken by city officials.
The Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau banned the event yesterday, saying no matchmaking agencies in Shanghai are licensed to set up dates between Chinese and foreigners.
The event was set up by Shiji Jiayuan, an online dating agency established in 2003. The company has offices in Shanghai and Beijing.
"They will visit Shanghai on a group tour and also wanted to meet some Chinese ladies," Gong Haiyan, founder of the agency, said of the American men.
He said the men range in age from 43 to 67 and include computer engineers, doctors, lawyers and bankers.
The agency posted a notice in the middle of July saying that it was looking for women interested in meeting 11 single males from Washington State on August 15. About 230 local women signed up to take part in the event by the August 5 deadline. The agency had selected 25 of the applicants to attend the matchmaking party.
"Decisions were made based on their family background, appearance and professions," said Gong. "We declined the really young applicants - some were only 20 years old."
The event had to be scrapped when the Civil Affairs Bureau sent Gong a notice yesterday banning it.
Xu Anqi, a relationship expert in the city, said she agrees the event should be banned as cross-cultural relationships are very difficult.
"Many issues will show up during such a relationship, but they rarely occur in relationships with someone from the same country," said Xu, noting problems include communication, cultural values and living habits.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)