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Loneliest day in a century

(Global Times)

14:52, November 09, 2011

For Chen Fen, a 28-year-old single woman living in Beijing, this coming Friday is meant to be a fun one. She plans to enjoy a large meal and a movie with some singles she met online, "because," she says, "Friday is our day." She makes a point of this because this coming Friday, November 11, or 11/11, is unofficially Singles Day, or Guanggunjie in Chinese.

These four lonely digits are viewed in China as a symbol for singles, and represent those without a partner. Moreover, the year 2011, which adds two more lonely figures, makes this day the loneliest one in a century. "I am afraid of being by myself on Friday, too depressing," says Chen, who has been single for years and hopes this Singles Day will be her last one.

Growing number of singles

Singles Day is becoming more popular in China with a growing number of people that have yet to find partners.

A survey conducted jointly by the All-China Women's Federation and, a matchmaking portal, shows that as of this January, there were more than 180 million unmarried Chinese men and women above the legal age for marriage, 22 for men and 20 for women.

The increase in the number of singles is more visible in large cities. Figures from a recent population census revealed that the number of singles in Beijing and Shanghai has risen tenfold over the past two decades to more than 1 million, a new record.

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