Dating on Chinese TV

Fei Cheng Wu Rao - China's Most Popular Dating Show

"If not sincere then do not disturb!" This is the English translation of Fei Cheng Wu Rao (非诚勿扰;非誠勿擾), China's hit dating game show (though you may know it as If You Are the One, the official English title). The show is loosely based on the Take Me Out format. In China the show is broadcast by Jiangsu TV, which first aired it on January 15, 2010.

If You Are the One has been a ratings success in China and is now the most-watched show for Jiangsu TV. Episodes are also widely viewed online, and in 2013 Australia's SBS Two even started broadcasting the show with subtitles.

Basically, in each show there are 24 female candidates and 4 or 5 male who will show up one by one to interact with the girls, by asking questions and watching male candidates' VCRs. Besides Mengfei, there are also two guests to ask questions or make comments, making this show enjoy a greater diversity of views. After about 20 to 30 minutes communication, the female candidates need to decide whether they would like to keep their light on, which means she wants to be the male's girlfriend. And if there are more than 2 female candidates intersted in one male, he has to pick one.

Watching If You Are The One you can learn quite a few interesting things about China's young generation and their views on love and marriage. The show has even drawn the attention of academics and foreign media, and is the subject of many case study.

Both Chinese people and foreigners are sometimes shocked by the views expressed on the show. When a male contestant asked a girl if she would like to ride a bicycle with him, the girl infamously replied “I would rather cry in a BMW”.

In another episode, one of the girls criticized the man’s clothing, saying: “You are thirty, but you are dressed like you are thirteen. Wearing cheap clothes does not show respect to us.” Another remarkable episode had a girl refuse to shake hands with the male candidate. She said her hand will only be touched by her boyfriend, and that if other people want to shake hands with her, she will charge 200.000RMB.

Depending on who you ask, such statements are a result of the gender imbalance in China (there are roughly 30 million more men than women), the fast economic growth, the materialisation of society, or all of the above.

In addition to the extreme statements above, the participation of foreigners contributes to the show's success as well. Chinese People watch the 'foreigner' episodes of the show with an open mind and great curiosity, trying to understand the cultural differences and the foreigners’ way of life. This wasy, If You Are the One doesn't just help foreigners understand China, it also helps Chinese people understand foreigners.