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Parental Match-making Blossoms in a Beijing Park

The resume of the Chinese soldier is immaculate -- backed by sturdy cardboard it shows in neat, printed script his age , qualifications and even his height.

Next to it, propped up against one of the ancient trees in Beijing's Zhongshan Park, are two photographs, one showing the 28-year-old bachelor proudly donning his military uniform.

A few yards away, his smartly dressed father watches as dozens of other parents amble past and take a look at the soldier's photos and data.

After matching the details against their own checklist, most shake their head and walk past, although some approach him for more information.

Each Sunday, this scene is repeated in various versions hundreds of times throughout beautiful Zhongshan Park, just 150 metres (yards) from the historic Forbidden City.

It is a unique form of match-making in modern China, where desperate fathers and mothers struggle to find compatible spouses for their overworked and overqualified children, a kind of parental speed-dating.

Despite their desire for a potential match, these proud parents are rigorous in their search for someone they think will be good enough for their children.

Matchmaking rules in China generally mean that a wife must be younger, less educated, have a lower salary and be shorter in stature than her husband. Parents match Chinese birth years, zodiac signs, even accents.

Throw in the attractiveness of having the right "hukou" -- an identification document that allows Chinese permanent residency in certain cities -- and parents find themselves entwined in a raft of criteria for their children.

The vast majority of advertisements in the Beijing park are for women nearing or just passing 30 years old, many of whom have good qualifications and well-paid jobs -- definite hurdles in finding potential husbands.

-- Parents come in secret to find their children a p
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