From Communist Party to rich-only matchmaking party

SHANGHAI Mon Nov 5, 2007 10:11pm IST

A model presents a creation during China Fashion Week in Beijing November 2, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A model presents a creation during China Fashion Week in Beijing November 2, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Twenty Chinese men, including several on the country's richest list, paid $8,000 a head to attend a matchmaking party with 30 "single young beauties," state media said Monday.

Saturday's controversial party was held at a luxury European-style villa in Shanghai, the birthplace of China's Communist Party in 1921, with guests arriving in stretch limousines and getting the full red-carpet treatment.

"To disguise their identities from photographers' cameras, all guests scurried into the venue wearing a face mask, some even using a paper bag," the China Daily said.

Market reforms in the past three decades have lifted China out of dire poverty, but they have also fostered a culture of quick wealth and money worship and as the income gap widens, resentment of the rich grows.

Each male guest paid a 58,800 yuan ($8,000) entrance fee, while the women, chosen for their "looks, kindness, thought and taste," were selected from tens of thousands of candidates, according to the social network Web site (www.915915.com.cn) which organized the event.

The site, which boasts a membership of 100,000, held a similar party on a boat in Shanghai last year, drawing criticism from many observers for treating women as objects.

Tan Chao, the site's marketing director, said the company provided different services, including dating arrangements.

"For those who pay most, we will try different means, not within our own club, until we find them the right one," he was quoted as saying.

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