Surviving coronavirus lockdown: Newly-reopened Wuhan witnesses marriage rush
According to a report by state-backed Global Times, requests to be wedded tripled after the lifting of lockdown and nearly crashed an online marriage registration program.
China’s Wuhan – the original epicentre of the now global coronavirus outbreak – emerged from a 76-day lockdown on Wednesday and local couples (whose relationships survived these tough weeks) rushed to celebrate the city's rebirth by getting married.
According to a Global Times report, requests to be wedded tripled after the lifting of lockdown and nearly crashed an online marriage registration program.
China's global mobile and online payment platform Alipay, which runs the program, saw a 300% increase in traffic. Alipay -- a subsidiary of tech giant Alibaba -- operates several government apps for Wuhan.
It announced on Chinese Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo that because too many users visited the program, about three times as those before the Spring Festival in late January, the system had a temporary glitch.
Many users on social media complained they could not access it.
But not everyone discovered love during the strict coronavirus quarantine time. China saw sharp increases in divorce rates while couples were forced to spend more time together while stuck at home or ended up trapped in different parts of the country because of the lockdown.
But for those encouraged to pop the question as the spread of the virus eases in the country, Alipay said it also has a useful service for the next phase of the relationship: People can use a mini program to see what names are too common when looking for a unique name for their baby.
Alipay later said on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that they "didn't expect the strong demand for marriage services after an earlier surge in divorce appointments. Our surprised engineers have fixed things".
Wuhan resumed marriage registration services on April 3. Residents must hold a health code to make an appointment for registration, said the Global Times.
A local woman surnamed Xu, who received her marriage certificate on Wednesday, told the daily that she and her husband finally got married after the lockdown. Xu said that for her the first day after the lockdown was very meaningful so it was a good marriage anniversary day for them.
"Life is back on track. It's a new beginning. And now I've become a person responsible for three families, as a wife, daughter and daughter-in-law," Xu said.
The large number of appointments for marriage registration in Wuhan presents a striking contrast with the situation in some other Chinese cities in March.
According to previous media reports, Chinese cities such as Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, experienced a divorce peak as a repercussion of COVID-19 since services were resumed on March 1.