Calling it quits: Divorce rate jumps 6%

By Guo Kai(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2016-07-12 11:28:40

A young couple concentrate on their mobile phones while having dinner. [File photo]

More than 3.84 million couples called their marriage off in China last year, a 5.6 percent increase from 2014, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Monday, the China News Service reported.

The national divorce rate has risen sharply since 2002, with the crude divorce rate that is the annual number divorces per 1,000 population increasing from 0.9 to 2.8 last year, according to the ministry.

The rising divorce rate in China is also reflected in the increase in domestic disputes brought to courts. According to the country’s top court, there were 4 million such cases from 2013 to the end of October 2015.

The changing social and economic conditions and people’s view of marriage were behind the rising divorce rate, said Zhai Zhenwu, professor of sociology and population studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing.

He said in the past discussing divorce meant social pressure, but now people are more open-minded. People frequently migrate from one place to another and that makes sustaining marriage difficult.

Fang Ning, director of the Institute of Political Science of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in the past when couples were not so well off, it was hard for them to separate and many were bound together merely to support a family.

"And now, the couples have fewer extra worries and it is easier for them to leave each other once they find they are not compatible," Fang said.

Li Hongzhao, a Beijing lawyer, said that the country’s laws are also behind the high divorce rate. A 2003 regulation on marriage and divorce simplified the divorce procedure and allowed couples to divorce the same day.

The high divorce rate is also due to the independent personality and lack of tolerance and patience, because most husbands and wives born in 1980s and 1990s were the only child of a family, Li said.

A study by a court in Siming district of Xiamen, Fujian province, showed that the post-1980s was fueling the rising divorce rate, and about 60 percent of divorce cases were brought by women.

Generally, women have a higher level of education, better income and enhanced family status, making them less reliant on men economically or psychologically, said Kuang Jieyu, a judge responsible for family proceedings.

Children and property are no longer the main concerns for couples who plan to divorce, Kuang said. About three-quarters of divorced couples have children, according to the study.

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