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Divorce In China Essay

1740 words - 7 pages

Divorce in China

Impact of socio-economic changes on the divorce in China
China has been undergoing number of social and economic changes throughout its communist history. There is no doubt that these socio-economic changes have influenced the society both positively and negatively. The most two significant changes of all would be the Cultural Revolution which took place during 1960s and the economic transition to the market economy, which has been in effect since 1980s. In this research paper I will focus on the impacts of the ongoing socio-economic changes on what is called a “traditional” family in China. To be more specific, I will try to analyze how the divorce has become one of the “new values” of a “modern” Chinese family.

A traditional family in China is one, in which the marriage between couples are arranged or forced by their parents regardless of whether or not the partners love each other. The wife is brought to the husband’s house and lives with her in-laws, and role of her would be to take care of her husband, household and bear a child, preferably a son. No matter how hard or unhappy the marriage is, the wife has no choice, but to tolerate with her “fate” which is formed by “tradition”. The main reason for this would be the fact that the traditional value of men is much higher than that of women.

Divorce has become one of the greatest social changes in China, as the following reveals “For centuries, ordinary Chinese have greeted each other on the street with a question that reflected the nation’s primary concern: ‘Chi le ma?’ or ‘Have you eaten?’ Now, according to a popular joke in Beijing, people who see a friend on the street voice a new concern with a new question ‘Li le ma?’ or ‘Have you divorced?” (In China, Rapid social change bring a surge in the divorce rate) However, the increasing divorce is not a new phenomenon for this nation at all. The truth is that, throughout the last half century, the divorce rate has been going up and down depending on certain socio-economic changes which were taking place in China. Nevertheless, there has always been a tendency for the divorce to increase in the whole nation.

Throughout China, people hardly went to courts to have divorce before the communist revolution and most of the serious conflicts between couples were successfully settled by the community to which they belonged. In 1950, following the revolution by communists, the new marriage law was in effect, making divorce legal if marriages were “arranged” or “coerced” by parents or other members of the community. The goal of the law was primarily to give women more equality and freedom in affairs of marriage and the right to end unhappy marriages. The law was so successful that the evidence shows that in 1950, in a tiny isolated village, the Chuxiong Prefectural Court granted 510 divorces and within three years this number reached 6600 – a twelvefold rise. Moreover, in 1953, the overall number of divorces granted,...

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