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An article written by a man who was publicly shamed online after posting a dating advertisement sparked a debate, claiming that ordinary Chinese men cannot fulfill society’s standards for finding love.

Zhang Kunwei, a 28-year-old Tsinghua University graduate, said his personal experience highlights the fact that to attract a girlfriend, men must be wealthy, attractive, and have plenty of free time.

Shamed Person Dating
Image Source: South China Morning Post

Last week, Zhang received a barrage of online harassment from people who were offended by a picture of him traveling through the desert.

“Oh my God! He is so ugly. What’s more, he is so oily (a Chinese slang referring to middle-aged men with bald hair and chubby belly),” wrote one person on the social media platform Douban, where Zhang placed his dating advertisement but later deleted it.“I wonder why he is so mediocre but still so confident,” another person said, quoting female comedian Yang Li’s famous remark.

They also pointed out that Zhang’s story of earning 50,000 yuan (S$10,263) per month is doubtful, given that he works part-time at a small college in Shanxi Province, central China. Zhang said he supplemented his income with computer programming work and gaming coaching.Salary has been a problem in the past. Zhang said in a previous advertisement from last year that he earned 3,000 yuan per month teaching at a kindergarten. Many people on the internet claimed he wasn’t “deserving of a girlfriend.”

Zhang said he made his meager salary public to demonstrate that he had time to spend with a new girlfriend. He believes he no longer has free time now that he earns 50,000 yuan a month, but people still expect him to work hard for an ideal body.
“I am very curious what people will say for my third advertisement in the future. Right now, I do not think there will be a third one,” he said.

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This constant criticism led Zhang to publish an article on April 2 saying that, in modern society, men are under “unprecedented pressure”.

“A small number of people who have found success have grabbed the opportunities for young men to find a partner, leading most ordinary men unable to find ways to attract people of the opposite sex,” he wrote.
He bemoaned the fact that men in society are only valued for their ability to “work hard and earn money.”
Zhang’s post about men’s woes isn’t being taken seriously by anyone.

“Nobody owes you a wife,” wrote Zhou Xuanyi, a philosophy professor at Wuhan University, on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service. The stress is a personal problem, not a social one.”
“Based on your resume and income, you are a man of success. So don’t talk in a way to seek sympathy,” he said. “You don’t have the right to require the girls you like to like you. Beautiful girls not liking you does not mean that your appeal has been oppressed.”

At one point in his life, Zhang was on the path to work hard and earn money.
He is said to have graduated from Tsinghua University’s Yao Class, one of the most prestigious programs in China. He was employed at Google but left to return home to Jinzhong in Shanxi, claiming that his new work-life balance as a teacher is better.

On the internet, Zhang was defended. On Zhihu, a Quora-like website, one user claimed to be one of Zhang’s students and wrote:

“Zhang Kunwei speaks in a soft way. He is quite patient. He let me know, for the first time, the huge gap between a person from an elite school and me.”

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“He is talented and smart. He pursues his dream and is a down-to-earth person,” wrote a person at news portal 163.com.

Source: South China Morning Post

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