The stereotypical life of a young urban Chinese person could be said to run like this: graduate from college, find a good job, get married and raise a family. However, more and more young people are straying from this path nowadays, selecting to marry immediately after graduation, the People's Daily reported on March 29.
Li Zhixiong, director of the Marriage Registration Department in Shanghai's Luwan District announced that his department fielded 387 marriage registrations from graduates under 24 years of age in 2006, more than doubling the 153 seen the year before.
According to Sun Baohong, a sociologist from the Shanghai Municipal Academy of Social Sciences, many graduates decided to get married after university because many of them were not able to take the step into full independence since they were still financially dependent on their parents.
Following their graduation from a Shanghai university, Wang Ni and Liu Hao moved to Beijing and married at the end of last year. "However, newly-married life is not as always plain sailing," admitted Wang.
As lowly office workers, Wang Ni and Liu Hao's salaries are limited and depend heavily on their parents. Living in a two-room apartment they bought with a bank loan and with payments of 3,000 yuan a month to make, their expenditures surpass their incomes and their parents' help is essential.
Wang Ni and Liu Hao both come from one-child families and, perhaps as a consequence, are not equipped with the range of skills one would expect in a married couple. Every morning, Liu Hao's mother telephones them to wake them up in time for work and on weekends, she visits them to take care of their cooking, washing, cleaning and even pays their bills.
To investigate the root causes of this phenomenon, the People's Daily polled Shanghai students. Among the 30 investigated students who responded, few wished to emulate Wang and Liu.
One student said that he considered his peers that married early as being both psychologically and economically immature. "To get married immediately after graduation will no doubt make these young people too dependent on their parents and extend the bad habits seen in NEET groups (not in education, employment or training)," the student explained.
Sun said that the trend was due to the hedonistic and lazy atmospheres young people continuously enjoy due to their parents' attention, forming cocoons in which they seek to stay sheltered from the real world.
"Compared with their contemporaries, people of this group have comparatively good family economic backgrounds and are thus more content with their lot," said Sun. "Most of them are unprepared for married life, lacking a sense of responsibility regarding family and society."
"Over-dependence on parents will easily wear down young people's ambition and drive," said Sun.
(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong, April 3, 2007)