No you have a point, traditional chinese society was highly patriarchal (much like lots of traditional societies :p) and a lot of those attitudes probably still influence things, although I bet the tables are turning now because of the extreme shortage of women.
It's really a northeast asian thing. The south east asians: Thais, Laotians, and vietnamese are patriarchal too, but when it comes down to it, when the money's needed, women will totally do their thing.
I was about to give up on meeting Korean women until I met my girlfriend, and hell, she's more American than anything--she really...REALLY rails against how useless AND codependent NE asian women can be. At this point, for a good chunk of the women you will meet in NE asia, you have to have one of those 50's male personalities that is completely fine with being the bread-winner. If that's cool with you, that's cool with me, but don't fucking come to me complaining about how your girlfriend will never introduce you to her family, or hang out later than 11, or can't figure out basic electronics instructions. Etc, etc.
I could write a book about the experiences I've had and seen with NE asian women.
But, to be sure, it's changing because of the low birth rate...or it was; now a lot of countries are starting to import brides from Vietnam, etc. Seriously, the Korean government in some cities is giving stipends to poor farmers so that they can go and pick out a bride. In China, a big trend among farmers is marrying North Korean women (oh, the irony).