Marrying a mainlander: ‘Love always comes first'

Chen Sha, a native of Hong Kong, married her husband, a Beijinger, five years ago when she traveled to south China’s Guangzhou province. Following the marriage, the focus of her life moved to Beijing from Hong Kong.

According to Chen, 31, many people of her parents’ generation in Hong Kong believe that marriage is something like a gambling with a specific goal, especially when it comes to the marriage between one a Hong Konger and mainlander. “Many people (in the past) thought that a Hong Kong girl’s motive to marry a mainlander is money, while a mainland girl’s marriage to a Hong Kong man is for position,” said Chen.

However, with the rapid development of the Chinese mainland economy and increase of communication between mainland and Hong Kong, such stereotypes have gradually broken.

Statistics released by the Hong Kong government show that there were in total 1,390 marriages between Hong Kong women and mainland men in 1991, while the figure reached 7,447 in 2013.

In Hong Kong, the word ’Hong Kong’ girl traditionally refers to a girl who is insatiable. I don’t like people calling me that way. The first thing about marriage that comes to my mind, or people of my generation, is always love, instead of money,” she said.

Difference and respect

With the return of Hong Kong to China and increasing communication between the mainland and Hong Kong, differences between people from the two sides have also reduced in the past few years. Chen said she felt the same way in the relationship with her husband.

She said when she first met her husband, there were a lot of things in common between them. They even shared the same interest in Cantopop.

Many people tended to think ‘Hong Kong’ girls are a special group, but I never agreed with that, neither did my husband. We never tried to yield to each other. We are totally equal,” Chen said.

Despite common values shared between Chen and her husband, they sometimes debate over some realistic issues like raising a child to some political issues like Occupy Central. And it was a little bit embarrassing for her husband to stay with her family at first, she said.

Once when we had dinner together, and my husband incidentally brought up the topic of raising a child. But the first sentence my mother said in response was that she would not help to raise the child like people in the mainland do,” Chen recalled.

But the good thing is that we can always sit down and enjoy the dinner every time after the debate,” she added. “Despite the differences between us, we always respect each other.”

New trends

While the marriage between a woman from mainland and a man from Hong Kong was quite popular in the 1980s and the first few years of the 1990s, the new trend in recent years is that more women from Hong Kong are marring mainland men.

According to Liu Jin, founder of golden phoenix marriage agency which provides matchmaking service to people from Hong Kong and the mainland, men from Hong Kong were quite popular among Chinese mainland women in the first few years of 1990s, even when they were aged and had been married before. Some women even tried fake marriage in order to get a Hong Kong identity.

Chen said her aunt from Guangdong was married to a man in Hong Kong who was 10 years older than her in the 1980s, just in order to escape poverty. But it turned out that the man was also an ordinary person who earned an average salary in Hong Kong. “She (my aunt) believed that a man who wore suit with a necktie must be a rich guy,” said Chen, adding that her tried to persuade her to marry a mainland man, “as the mainland is developing so well.”

According to the website of golden phoenix marriage agency, more than half of the users on the Hong Kong column are women from Hong Kong, mostly with advanced education, prestigious position as well as high income.

With more and more girls from Hong Kong coming to the mainland to work and study, they have gotten better understanding about young people in the mainland, and people also have changed their take on a marriage between a Hong Kong woman and a mainland man, said Huang Min, a staff at the Hong Kong SAR Beijing office.

Another reason more Hong Kongers are getting married to the mainland is the high living cost in Hong Kong. It is reported that housing prices in Hong Kong are the highest in 2017 globally with the most expensive one amounting to 740,000 yuan per square meter.

Life is more comfortable here in the mainland, while in Hong Kong it’s just like a ‘cage’,” Chen said.

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