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“In his eyes, Mao was a horrible figure,” she said, “but he doesn’t know our parents’ generation still thinks he was amiable and respectable.”Many Chinese people in their fifties or sixties still sing “red songs” to pay tribute to Mao, and carry out memorial ceremonies for him annually, so he shouldn’t just identify Mao as a “dictator,” she tried to explain to him. A 21-year-old college student in Beijing, who would only like to be identified as Jean, tells me she dated a guy from the US two years ago.The relationship lasted for just six months, because Jean found they “couldn’t communicate” because of their “different standpoints.”Jean’s ex-boyfriend was nine years older than her, and a graduate student in international relations at another Beijing university.Every weekend, the parents of Shanghai’s unmarried population gather to find potential partners for their adult children.Lining the walkways of Shanghai’s People’s Square, they post their offspring’s details on open umbrellas —height, weight, education, and occupation— hoping to attract the parents of other singles.I'm kind, honest, feminiity, attractive, healthy, friendly,easygoing.

It was interesting at first for Xu to learn about Spanish culture from her ex-boyfriend, she said, especially after feeling she had nothing to talk about with Chinese guys in her age because “everything is familiar.” But the remark about China’s former leader, Mao Zedong, was too alien, she said. She’s not happy about the word “dictator,” because that makes Mao the equivalent to Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, Xu explained.”He can’t brainwash me,” she said.“I understand democracy no less than him,” Jean said.“Democracy also has its own problems.”Sally, 23, who would only like to be known by her English name, dated a German soldier two years ago when she was an exchange student in Germany.A recent Chinese propaganda campaign about national security uses a comic called “Dangerous Love” to warn Chinese women not to date foreigners.Li, a college graduate who works for the government, meets red-haired, beak-nosed David, who claims he is an academic, at a friend’s gathering.

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