In this article, I analyzed the transformation of marriage in modern China and interpreted its socio-cultural meaning. In this modern society, marriage and wedding ceremonies are inescapable from industrialization and commodification. I considered this context to analyze some characteristics of wedding ritual, mate selection and social discourses about marriage in modern China.
In traditional China, marriage had been destined to accomplish the goal to reproduce and maintain male’s descent group. However, after 1949, the redefinition of marriage by the PRC banned arranged marriages and the State started to intervene to domestic affairs like any other aspects of everyday life. And moreover, the policy of reform and openness brought some social changes of marriage process and its socio-cultural meaning.
In post-socialist China, the State and the media urge people to marry not too late. In the area of popular culture we can find many examples telling the stories of marriage. Some parents of unmarried son or daughter attend blind date event for themselves in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai to search for their son - or daughter - in - law. In modern marriage process of China, the economic condition of spouse (and his/her family) is considered as very important thing to marry each other.
Some women, especially well-educated and with high incomes, are called as leftover women, which is a pejorative term made popular by the media. They are considered as people with deprivation and dangerous beings who can be harmful to society. However, this is problematic because it neglects some social contexts like population policy of the State, the sex ratio imbalance, and the unbalanced development between city and rural areas.