If You Are the One is a Chinese television phenomenon, one of many popular matchmaking shows on which young people seek mates amid ribald jokes from the host and occasional racy comments from guests.
Audiences loved all the titillation, until last month — when Chinese government censors came down hard.
After a contestant indicated she was angling for a wealthy man with a flashy car, government nannies ordered all matchmaking shows to cut the sexual innuendo, uphold traditional values and ban any talk of women "gold digging."
The campaign against TV matchmaking shows began in May and was aimed largely at If You Are the One on Jiangsu Television, where a bachelor confronts 24 single women who pepper him with questions. The young women have lights placed in front of them, and they switch the lights on or off to indicate whether the contestant should remain on the show.
In the most controversial segment, a 24-year-old fashion model told a poor and unemployed bachelor who offered her a bicycle ride that she would "rather cry in a BMW than ride a bicycle while laughing."
The comment incurred the wrath of the censors, who said it indicated a materialistic, "gold-digging" attitude that was the equivalent of prostitution. Her comment ignited a fierce debate in China.
"I really don't think it was necessary for the government to get involved and try to tone down the show," said Li Xiao, 27, who was a contestant on another segment of the show and met his girlfriend there. "Even if the show is censored, these kind of thoughts exist in real life."
"I think this kind of opinion is very common. And not wrong," said Yang Yijia, 25, who has twice been a contestant but is still waiting to meet her match. "But it should not be said on television. China is still a traditional country."
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