tirsdag 2. november 2021

In Rural China, a Debate Over How to Keep Men’s Beds Warm

With much of southern China still experiencing unseasonably warm weather, one of the hottest topics on social media recently might come as a surprise: how should the country keep rural men’s beds warm?

Last week, not long after county-level officials in the central province of Hunan published a document declaring that “the issue of aging, unmarried rural men is gradually ceasing to be an individual problem and becoming a societal problem,” and promising they would work to “encourage young women to stay in their hometowns,” local media published a companion commentary titled “Bringing Warmth to the Beds of Aging Rural Men Is a Necessary Undertaking.”

While the official proclamation was nothing new — the government has long worriedabout mismatches in the country’s marriage market — the language of the accompanying opinion piece proved a step too far for many readers. While fretting that “single men will have no one to wait on them when they get old and sick,” the author, an academic specializing in rural issues, seemed to reduce women to nothing more than “bed warmers.”