More rules for matchmaking websites after entrepreneur’s suicide – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for September 19, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

“I fully support this reform, since it came at the cost of a man’s life.”

“I don’t think real-name registration can completely prevent marriage fraud on dating websites. It will only foster the underground black market to trade personal data.”

These two views (in Chinese) represent the mixed feelings of Chinese internet users in reaction to new guidelines (in Chinese) jointly drafted by the Communist Youth League, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which call for closer scrutiny of online dating websites and promise to organize more matchmaking events — on- and offline — to help the country’s singles find partners.

Drafted on September 4 and released to the public on September 18, the guidelines propose that the government develop better solutions for the marriage woes of young people because “dating and marriage are not only basic needs of young people,” but also critical to “social harmony and stability.” Further steps to improve the current services include an increase of dating and marriage counseling services, promotion of sex education at schools, and a broad clampdown on marriage fraud in the country’s loosely regulated matchmaking industry.

The guidelines were issued about two weeks after the suicide of Beijing tech entrepreneur Su Xiangmao 苏享茂. On September 7, the founder of WePhone, an app that allows users to make international calls at low rates, jumped to his death from an apartment building, leaving a suicide note that said his ex-wife Zhai Xinxin 翟欣欣 had concealed a previous marriage from him and blackmailed Su into paying her 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) and transferring one of Su’s properties to her after their divorce. The couple met in March through, a dating website. Faced with accusations that it failed to verify users’ information, the website later confirmed that both Zhai and Su had registered with their real names, but it didn’t verify Zhai’s personal information such as her marriage history.