Within 15 years, the Chinese government believes as many as 40 million men will be permanent bachelors.
Looking For China Girl
Tuesday, 2 August, 2005
2100 BST on BBC Two
Twenty-five years ago, to stop the country's spiralling birth rate, China's communist government decreed that couples should have just one child.
And influenced by Chinese tradition, couples usually want a son and not a daughter.
According to official figures, about 117 boys are born for every 100 girls.
Many reasons have been given for the fact that more boys are born than girls, including selective abortion or infanticide, under-reporting of female births and adoption.
This World follows 24-year-old Xinhau Lu, who still lives with his parents on a small farm in rural China, on his search for a wife.
"In my current situation, no girl would be interested in marrying me," he says.
So in a anxious mission to find work and attract a bride, Xinhau travels 860 miles to Beijing.
Others, however, are not as scrupulous as Xinhau.
Some young women across China are being kidnapped and sold as brides.
We speak to Qing, only 16 years old when she was snatched and forced to live with a desperate bachelor.
And in China's cities there is also a new breed of girl like Shao Ying, who have made successful careers and are enjoying the single life.
These are the personal stories of a modern demographic crisis.
Can China stop itself becoming a bachelor society?
Looking For China Girl was broadcast on Tuesday, 2 August, 2005 at 2100 BST on BBC Two.
Producers: Sophie Todd/Frank Smith for In Focus Asia
Executive producer: Karen O'Connor