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Despite all the limitations, the show was a groundbreaking depiction of courtship.It took decisions about love and marriage from the private home to the very public domain of broadcast TV.
For example, in 1970, only 1.8% of couples lived together before marriage. Meanwhile, divorces in China rose from 170,449 couples in 1978 to 3.5 million in 2013, while marriages with foreigners increased from fewer than 8,500 couples in 1979 to more than 49,000 couples in 2010.
But over the past 30 years, these customs have been upended.
I’ve studied how traditional Chinese marriage rituals have evolved in response to globalization.
But China’s 1978 Open Door Policy, which transitioned the country from a rigid, centrally-planned economy to a global, market-based economy, exposed the Chinese people to an array of outside cultural influences.
Meanwhile, the country’s 1980 marriage law codified, for the first time, freedom to marry and gender equality.