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    ” A woman stands in the rain in Chongqing on Valentine’s Day on February 14 http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/James-Bradberry/ , 2014. Photo: CFP A man rests in his room in a community for single people in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. Photo: CFP Graphics: GT Graphics: GT Graphics: GTAs more and more people leave their hometowns for work the number of people living alone in China has reached 58 million. Hundreds of thousands of well-educated young people in China’s metropolises have chosen to live alone. But though they enjoy the relative freedom from the prying eyes of their family members, coping with loneliness and distancing themselves from traditional Chinese ways of life can be a hard lesson to learn.

     

    It was 2 o’clock in the morning, and Lu Wei couldn’t help weeping as she looked at the messy apartment into which she had just moved.

     

    This is Lu’s fifth year in Shanghai, and the fifth year she’s been living alone. The 25-year-old white-collar worker thought she had gotten used to a life of solitude: she goes to work alone, watches films alone http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Harrison-Butker/ , jogs alone and travels alone.

     

    But spending the past week moving into her new apartment, and dealing with real estate agents, her landlord, home decorators and movers, all by herself, showed her she isn’t as used to it as she thought. Fatigue and stress prompted her to ask herself for the first time in five years: how is she going to cope http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Daeshon-Hall/ , all by herself?

     

    While in the US, it’s common for young people to move out of their parents’ homes after they reach adulthood and live by themselves before they get married, this is a relatively new trend in China. Living together with one’s family is highly valued in Chinese tradition. Just twenty years ago, most young Chinese would live with their parents until they were married. But now, more and more people are choosing to live alone, as migration boomed in the past three decades.

     

    This growing trend is supported by statistics: in 1990 http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Taylor-Moton/ , 6 percent of Chinese households had only one person. By 2014, that number had more than doubled to 14.9 percent, according to China Statistical Yearbook, published by the National Bureau of Statistics. By 2013, over 58 million people live by themselves in China. 20 million of them are aged between 20 and 39.

     

    The wealthier part of the country has seen more of the trend. In Shanghai, a fourth of households have only one person. In Beijing http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Curtis-Samuel/ , that percentage is one fifth.

     

    Social isolation is not unique to China. Nor is growing dependence on digital technology. But as most of China’s young people have parents who lived in an age of collectivist conformity, living alone and learning to cope with loneliness has become a lesson that single youngsters in China’s metropolises have to learn.

     

    Choosing isolation

     

    While many people that live alone are low-skilled workers who have no choice but to live in relatively poor conditions in big cities, the number of well-educated and well-off singletons who choose isolation is on the rise.

     

    Lu, for example, says she enjoys solitude most of the time. In her five years in Shanghai, she went to the cinema over 300 times http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Star-Lotulelei/ , but only went with someone else three times. She watched many films multiple times: Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster five times, and Gravity and Life of Pi twice each. “”It’s easier to be immersed in a film if you watch it by yourself,”" she told Southern Weekly.

     

    Lu also finds that she can now do things more attentively and live a lifestyle that she likes. She has plenty of personal time to make crafts by hand and send them to friends as gifts. She also has a notebook which records all her thoughts when she travels alone, things that she doesn’t want to bother sharing with others.

     

    Lu said she chose her career according to her parents’ wishes. “”So only in my everyday life can I truly follow my heart,”" she said.

     

    However, one may find the individuality in mega-cities rather surreal http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Thomas-Davis-Sr/ , considering tolerance of alternative lifestyles is virtually nonexistent in most parts of the country. The singles can enjoy their own company without unwarranted intrusion into their private lives as long as they stay in the bubble of big cities, but this privacy is so fragile that it only takes a family reunion or a visit back to hometown to prick the bubble.

     

    For many, the stress of complicated relationships returns during Spring Festival, the time of the year for family reunion.

     

    “”Every year before the Spring Festival I feel a sense of anxiety, because I know when I go back home to that familiar environment, my family will interrogate me about when I will find myself a boyfriend and get married http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Greg-Olsen/ ,”" Clare Sun (pseudonym), a 28-year-old woman in Beijing, told the Global Times.

     

    Sun comes from a city in East China’s Shandong Province. Shandong, the place where Confucius was born, is known to be more conservative and traditional values still hold sway. Sun said she feel an obvious stigma when she visits other relatives’ homes and they ask her about her marital status. Returning to her 25-square-meter apartment in Beijing offers her a sense of relief.

     

    Living paradox

     

    But there is a price to pay for the freedom, and eating alone is one of them. Chinese family life revolves around the dinner table http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Kawann-Short/ , and Chinese people are used to big meals. According to tradition, a decent dinner should consist of at least four dishes and a soup. While this is way too much for the singletons, many feel the experience of eating alone difficult to bear.

     

    To help single people eat better, Cai Yani, a former journalist from Shanghai, launched a video series called “”Eating alone”" in 2013 http://www.cheapnfljerseyspanthers.com/Trai-Turner/ , teaching people how to cook simple but delicate meals. Shot beautifully in high definition, each video shows a well-presented dish made by a well-dressed young man or woman in the setting of a modern house. The videos are played in Shanghai’

    BEIJING, June 23.

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