Divorce Rates on the Rise in China
    2014-04-15 06:49:57     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Mao

Recent numbers are suggesting that some 10 thousand marriages break up in China every day.

This has come as a shock to this country of 1.3 billion people - where the family unit is seen as the lynchpin of society.

Doris Wang has more.


Divorce rates in China have been on the rise for ten consecutive years.

Last year alone saw a shocking 3.1 million divorces.

This seems to become a major trend in line with developed countries in Western Europe and North America.

Susanne Choi is a sociology professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She says the changing status of women in society is one of the contributing factors to this statistic.

"Our values are definitely changing. For example, some women, you know, even if they experience abuse or unhappiness in marriage, they may think that it's important to keep the marriage intact for the sake or welfare of the children. But now, women may think that their welfare is important too. That's one possibility. But I think to explain the rapid increase in divorce, probably we have to think more about the increase in economic status or independence or education of women. "

Over the years, the concepts of marriage and divorce have evolved from a public to a more private affair.

The most recent development was in 2001, which got rid of the requirement that couples wanting a divorce had to get employer approval in order to do so.

The changes in Chinese society have also led to young people, especially those who are born after 1980, to feel less committed to traditional marriage than their parents.
Young Chinese are taking charge of their own lives and making independent decisions.

Despite the many changes, loyalty remains an important factor for couples to stay together.

Therefore, the leading cause of most divorces in China is infidelity or extramarital affairs.

Aside from the increase in divorces, another phenomenon is emerging in this country, cohabitation.

Today, many young couples are living together before they are married.

Wu Qiong, a professor and researcher at Peking University, said although this will allow the couples to get to know each other, it may also end in disaster.

"Cohabitation is a double-edged sword. On a positive note, if people get to know more about each other before their marriage, this may lower the divorce rate because a lot of divorces are actually happening shortly after marriage and this allows them to get to know their daily routines. On a negative note, if the cohabitation turns to a permanent state, which is not a favorable position because then it's not that people are getting divorced but they are not getting married, which is happening in some of the Western countries now."

China is changing at a rapid pace and marriage appears to be changing as well.

However, it still remains to be seen whether this is a positive development in a society that has upheld the traditional idea of marriage for thousands of years.



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