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'Single dogs' facing an age of abuse

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2016-01-20 08:14

The easing of China's family planning policy marks a turnaround for the fate of one particular demographic - singles of marriageable age are no longer rewarded for staying put at that status. The pressures to tie the knot are now official and the foreseeable future may bring worse news, such as the so-called "singles tax" as adopted in South Korea.

When news from our neighbor reached us a year ago that singles aged 32-49 and with a certain income level or above would have to pay the equivalent of 1,000 yuan ($152) in additional tax, Chinese denizens joked about it. (Technically, it was not a tax, but the lack of qualification for some tax benefits.) Anyway, it was a financial means to "abuse the single dog", in Chinese social-media parlance.

Now, calling someone a "dog" is an insult in Chinese culture. But "single dog" as a popular meme has been in vogue mainly as a self-deprecating term for this group. Overlapping coinages include "pubic hair" and "leftover women", which are obviously more disparaging. I don't know whether it's the same as some ethnic slurs used by that ethnicity itself, but I would suggest those with spouses or regular dates refrain from the usage.

'Single dogs' facing an age of abuse

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