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China / Hot Issues

Woman flees from poor boyfriend's home

By Zhao Xinying (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-02-14 20:18

Netizens split over wealthy Shanghai girlfriend's rejection of rural family's meal

The story of a young woman from a well-off Shanghai background and her boyfriend from a poor rural family created a huge online discussion about love during the Lunar New Year.

But unlike in many such romantic stories, love, in this case, did not triumph.

The anonymous woman, from comfortable circumstances in China's financial capital, recently agreed to follow her boyfriend to spend the Spring Festival in his hometown — a small village in Jiangxi province. But after one meal at the family's home, the 28-year-old woman insisted on ending the relationship and returning to her home that same night. She said she could stand neither the humble food that the family offered, nor their lowly home.

In the pictures the woman posted, the meal was offered in a dimly lit room, with six dishes and a bowl of rice placed on an old, mottled wood table, which some commenters said made the table look dingy and the food unappetizing.

The woman said they took a train, transferred to a bus and then bumped along a country road on a tractor before they finally arrived at the man's home. "The bumping had already made me very sick. When I saw the dishes, I really wanted to throw up," the woman said in her online posts.

The couple had dated for a year, with the woman's parents firmly in opposition because the man was a poor outsider in Shanghai who had not been able to purchase an apartment in the costly megacity.

"My mother had tried to persuade me to get out of the relationship. I regretted not having followed her suggestions after I arrived there," the woman said in the posts, adding that her father arranged for a car to pick her up that night.

The posts caught netizens' attention and received a large numbers of comments, sparking heated discussions on the common conflicts that arise in relationships between poor men from the countryside and stylish urban women used to the good life.

Some netizens were sympathetic to the woman. A netizen called Sunshine-after-rain said: "It's normal for the woman to flee. She had no obligation to force herself to tolerate or accept the poor situation."

Netizen Daring 90 said: "The dishes are OK compared with what I saw among other similar incidents. Take care."

But some criticized the woman for being impolite and snobbish, with netizen MissTumbler saying the man's family "must have offered you the best" they had, and netizen FinanceQiuer saying that she "should have kept your manners and showed basic respect to the man's family".

A 26-year-old female Internet user from Jiangxi province, where the man is from, posted a long letter to the fleeing Shanghai woman on Saturday, expressing her affection for the province where she was born, brought up and is now living.

"I can understand your fear and anxiety of facing rural life for the first time," the woman said in the letter. "But in recent years, people in the countryside of Jiangxi are working hard to change their own fate, as well as the fate of their hometown."

"As more young people come back to start their own businesses and careers, the situation of Jiangxi is becoming different from years before," the woman wrote, garnering applause from many netizens.

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