In what is known as the world's largest annual migration for humans, millions of people travel across the world, especially East Asia, to celebrate Lunar New Year, aka the Chinese New Year, with their loved ones.
Visiting parents and relatives is an integral part of this holiday but it can get rather stressful for single people, particularly in mainland China.
Unmarried Chinese men and women often face intense pressure from their families to bring home their partners over the Lunar New Year season.
Quite obviously, not everybody is able to score a date during that particular time period. Just recently, an upset 27-year-old man in the city of Dongguan got himself drunk at a train station because he was afraid of visiting his parents without a wife. He had to be comforted by police officers.
So, single Chinese people, in their desperation to appease nagging parents and relatives, rent girlfriends and boyfriends during the holidays.
And the unusual business is booming, apparently.
Prospective partners-for-hire can reportedly charge up to 10,000 yuan a day – roughly around $1,500. (This is excluding the cost of travel and other necessary expenses involved in the trip.)
Since this is the era of technology, Channel News Asia reports there are at least five apps that offer rent-a-date in China.
It is a common error to confuse these partner rentals with escort services. But a lot of these websites specify that no sexual services, even kissing, are allowed with their employees.
But there are concerns.
“If both parties behave according to the law and rental agreement, such as paying on time and respecting each other's privacy, it does not violate the law,” Li Hongzhao, deputy secretary of the criminal law commission of the Beijing Lawyers Association, told AsiaOne.
“But it is hard to define the boundary between intimate behavior and infringement, and sexual assault may happen,” Li added.
Banner / Thumbnail Credit : Reuters