October 27, 2008 / 1:17 PM / 10 years ago

81-year-old finds love online

BEIJING (Reuters) - An 81-year-old Chinese man has proved age need not be a barrier to Internet love, marrying a 58-year-old bride he met online, a local newspaper reported.

Wu Jieqin, a retired Beijing art professor who has spent time in an aged-care home, married Jiang Xiaohui, 23 years younger, in a ceremony on the weekend, the Beijing News reported.

“The Internet doesn’t belong to the young alone,” he told the paper. He said he had been using the Internet since 1998.

“There are no rules against old people seeking love online.”

But to reach the altar, Wu had to overcome the opposition of Jiang’s parents, aged 85 and 86, who feared he was too old.

But she won them over.

“His voice is very youthful. Not like an 80-year-old,” Jiang told the paper. “He’s very romantic.”

The couple met after Wu, lonely since his divorce a decade ago, put a lonely hearts notice on a Chinese website last year with the help of a student.

Not that the feisty retiree with thin gray hair was not picky.

“As internet mates of his own age did not suit him, he set his sights on a woman in her forties or fifties,” the report said.

Wu said over 50 women responded positively to his ad, including prospects from the United States, Australia and the Ukraine. Wu met several but things clicked only when with Jiang, a retired railway worker from southwest China’s Sichuan province.

Wu plans to move to Sichuan to be with his new bride.

He likened their love to two well-meshed gears.

“As long they up to scratch, they can keep turning forever, and you don’t have to care whether they’re old or new,” he said.

Reporting by Chris Buckley

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