True Love Packed Into 50 Sq. Feet

Courtesy Zhang Rui

By Xiao Kaijing

BEIJING - A newlywed couple in China is proving that big love can come in small spaces.

With best wishes and tears of joy, Zhang Rui and his wife Little Pan recently said their vows at their simple wedding. Then, they moved into their first home together.

But these lovebirds' love nest in Guandong province is so small that by American standards it is closer to an actual nest than a new home.

The size of their newlywed home is only 50 square feet. It is furnished with just a bed, a table and a small wardrobe.

In a country where many single women insist that to be eligible a bachelor must own his own home, and the bigger the better, this sweet story of two lovebirds squeezed into such a small space went viral. The groom, Zhang Rui, is now considered one of the luckiest men in China. His story has been one of the most popular on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, this week.

"Lovefreedom" tweets on Weibo: "It seems like true love does still exist. Their love was not dominated by material desires. That is the greatest love! I believe in love again!"

In the Chinese tradition, women usually move into the man's family home after they get married. A man is expected to own a house or an apartment if he has any hope of getting married. But in the past few years, soaring real estate prices have created major frustration among Chinese bachelors.

Courtesy Zhang Rui

Home prices in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai have doubled since 2009. A typical 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment in the capital costs about $274,000.

As for Zhang Rui, he is as humble as his background. When he was 14, he followed his migrant worker parents from Hubei province to Guangdong. As a bachelor, he had no house, no car and no money. It took a lot of effort for Zhang Rui to convince his parents-in-law to let Little Pan marry him.

The couple met at a factory where they both worked. It was love at first sight. He said she appeared "to be so kind and sweet."

Before their wedding, they only had six dates. Too poor to go to a restaurant, they spent the time taking walks and talking to one another.

Courtesy Zhang Rui

Their little home is in the back of a clothing store run by Zhang Rui's parents. It is separated from the store by a few thin wooden splits. Inside the room, there is a big picture of the couple over the bed and a few good-luck paper cutouts. Each month, they earn roughly $500 between them. With careful savings, they hope to buy their own, bigger home one day.