A branch of the Chinese Communist Youth League has set up a dating service for young activists to find a partner, state media has reported.
The service, which is in the Zhejiang province branch of the national organization, launched with a 5000-strong dating party on Sunday and seeks to help young members find a partner within the organization with whom they can share their political ambitions.
The event held on Sunday was organized by a Chinese dating website and included people from a range of backgrounds and sectors. One of the principal matchmaking methods included speed dating, where participants talk to someone for a specified length of time before meeting another person. So far, as many as 500 members have found a potential match.
The Zhejiang province branch of the Communist Youth League has been known to produce high-ranking government officials and even national leaders, such as former President Hu Jintao and Ling Jihua, an ex-presidential adviser who was sentenced to life in jail on corruption charges.
However, the party’s anti-corruption service has previously criticized the branch for its alleged exclusivity, claiming they consider themselves “political aristocrats.” The criticism led to considerable reform of the branch, ranging from the restructuring of its personnel to greater focus on the ideological education of its members.
A government official said the service is designed to help keep up with young people’s changing lifestyles. “The circle of friends of youngsters has narrowed due to the heavy work pressure in modern society,” an anonymous government official told the South China Post. “Some young people and their parents also asked whether we can serve as a bridge.”
The service could also be an attempt to encourage relationships solely between Chinese citizens. In April 2016, Chinese authorities ran a security campaign warning people against dating foreigners, based on fears of espionage. As part of the campaign, cartoon posters depicting Chinese people with foreigners, titled “Dangerous Love” were placed around Beijing.
Last month, Chinese authorities removed Rela, a popular lesbian dating service with over 5 million users, and then refused to comment on the decision.
The Chinese government is not the only one engaging in matchmaking, however. In China’s close neighbor Japan, local governments are organizing speed dating events in an attempt to encourage young people to date and eventually have children amid what is described as a “demographic time bomb.” Between 2010 and 2017, the Japanese population fell by over one million people as a result of many Japanese people turning their back on romantic relationships.