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May 21, 2010

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Singles hope '520' will make pairs

NEARLY 100 white-collar singles took part in a match-making activity yesterday, May 20, with the Chinese pronunciation of "520" close to "I love you."

Participants were asked to fulfill a task together: make paper flowers and collect wishes from passers-by and give them to a World Expo volunteer in a neighborhood booth.

"White-collar workers have few friends and find it difficult to find a spouse," said Qin Heng, an official with the 12355 youth service platform, the organizer of the event.

Many prefer to stay at home after a busy day at work, he added.

Zhang Yue, a 26-year-old woman from Heilongjiang Province, said, "I'm the only child in my family."

Though feeling lonely, she seldom goes out to make new friends.

"I'm very traditional and don't like to hang out in pubs or bars," she said. "Moreover, I'm too tired to go out after a long work day."

She usually stays at home to rest and has only a few colleagues and classmates as friends. She saw the 520 event as a great opportunity to meet new people.

Participants were divided into 12 groups who had to work together for hours to get familiar with each other.

At the end of the event, they are encouraged to express their affection to those they liked.

The organization started to put together match-making activities in 2008 and local youth welcomed the events very much. They have attracted nearly 10,000 members and at least 10 married couples first got to know each other through the group's activities, according to Qin.

"I applied for the activity under the strong recommendation of my friend, who managed to find his beloved wife in last year's match-making activity," said Ren Lin, 26.

"Even if I cannot find my lover through the activity, it's still a very good opportunity to meet some new friends," Ren said.

A small circle of friends was seen as the biggest obstacle facing youth in finding mates, according to a national survey issued by the Chinese Marriage and Family Research Institute last year.

About 62 percent of the 2 million respondents said that they had little chance of meeting an appropriate lover because they often hang out with the same few friends.


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