SHANGHAI — A man who collapsed at a Chinese train station reportedly expressed shame his son was single. He survived what is thought to be a suicide attempt and is said to be receiving hospital treatment.
The case sparked a social-media debate about the pressures for young people in China to get married.
A father in China who seemed to survive a suicide attempt is said to have expressed shame that his son was not yet married at 29.
According to the local video news outlet KNews, the unnamed 55-year-old handed a note to guards at Shanghai Railway Station on January 22 and said he had just overdosed on medication.
He then fainted on the spot, one of the guards interviewed by KNews said.
In the note, addressed to his son, the man wrote that he “lived a life of shame” because his son had yet to start a family, per the report.
“People of my age in the village all have children and grandchildren already,” he reportedly wrote, adding: “But you are 29 and have achieved nothing.”
While the man has survived the incident and is said to be receiving hospital treatment, the case has sparked a social-media conversation about the pressures for young Chinese to settle down early.
On China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, one user commented that as a father, he could relate.
“The father’s responsibility is to raise his son well and give him a good education, but also see him married and start a business.
Only then can he complete his mission,” he wrote.
Others commented that it would be even harder for this man’s son to tie the knot now because the pressure from the in-laws was too great.
In China, there is an expectation for people to get married before they turn 30, and it is not uncommon for parents to push their children in that direction, even setting up blind dates for them.
If young women are not married after 27, they are referred to as sheng nu, or leftover women.
This comes even with close to half of China’s urban young women in a survey last year saying they didn’t plan to get hitched.
As for young men, they are pushed to settle down as soon as possible because they are “expected to carry on the family lineage,” Mu Zheng, a sociology expert at the National University of Singapore, told Insider.
“Marriage has also been an important marker of social maturation and personal success,” she said.
“Given China’s high housing prices and the expectations for men to assume the majority of costs in a household, transitioning to marriage indicates that the man is socially and financially ready.”