Left: lightening marriage Right: lightening divorce, top: “is that too fast?”
The divorce rate in China has increased for 7 consecutive years! According to statistics from China’s civil administration, more than 460,000 couples registered for divorce between January and March this year, increased by 17.1% compared to last year’s statistics, meaning that 5,000 couples get divorced everyday on average.
In 2010, about 1.2 million couples got married while 1.96 million couples got divorced. The divorce rate in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai is already beyond 1/3.
People’s Daily cited Chen Yijun, deputy director of Marriage and Family Research Association of China, saying that a new era for divorce has come to China because of the great challenge to marriage caused by society transformation and changes in social environment.
The rise of the divorce rate indicates the social development and progress brought not only more choices and freedom to our lives, but also interpersonal conflicts and marriage risk.
Since China was founded in 1949, people’s marriages have been very stable until 1979. After China adopted the Opening and Reforming Policy in 1979, the divorce rate surged extensively. Statistics shows that since 1979, divorce rate has never fallen and the rate is around 7.65% in recent 5 years.
“30 years ago, the traditional marriage is the so called economic cooperative and community to give birth. And the notion that a good man never gets divorced is widely and deeply accepted by the society, which greatly protects marriage from breaking up,” said Chen Yijun, “marriage is the biggest event in a person’s life at that time, once in a lifetime. So people never thought of changing.”
“Now is different, men have their private coffers and women have their private savings. Nobody is indispensable from each other. The bond of consanguinity to marriage is weaker since normal family has only one child,” Chen thinks, “The most important thing is that the view of love has dramatically changed. We can see from the names of many popular songs such as I love you just as the mouse loves the rice and this is love that you can’t tell.”
“Along with the Value of commodity economy infiltration, nobody demand for a life-long love and marriage. For example, as long as a man does not involve in corruption or accepting bribes, he will not be investigated for an affair, which becomes a private thing.”
Chen thinks that the trend of Chinese marriage is approaching western marriage. The social and culture wave of Sexual Liberty and Family Revolution happened in Western World in 1960s, including cohabitation, no marriage and DINK, which pursues more convenient, more free and happier ways of living. The trend came to China in 1970s and brought us, the so called most stable marriage country, a great change.
From the structure of age, the majority of people who get divorced are aged between 22 to 35 years old. 36 to 50 is the period with less divorce. But the divorce rate goes up in people who are aged over 50. Looking from education background, the academic degree is inversely proportional to divorce rate, which means the higher academic degree, the lower the divorce rate.
People’s Daily said that not only people born after 1980s have trouble with marriages their parents’ marriages also face the red light. “Now that their sons and daughters have graduated from colleges and can support themselves, the parents have no more obligations and don’t need to maintain the marriage.”
The elderly makes up one third of all the lawsuit cases for divorce, according to a lawyer Zheng Wenxu in Beijing.
Li Yinhe, famous Chinese sexology expert and researcher in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said, “In the past, a professor married a farmer is common and they can live for a whole life time. But today, the cohesion of married family shifts to the harmony of feelings, match of culture and the satisfaction of sex life.”
Li thinks that China’s view of family is changing from children oriented to conjugal relation oriented through several generations. In this process, the feelings of husband and wife is weighed more and more, different from the past that marriage works as serving parents and family inheritance.
Chen said that the modern marriage links husband and wife with feelings, culture and sex. This kind of marriage is called the psychological-cultural community. Compared to the traditional marriage, it is more civilized, advanced but weaker. On the other hand, the expansion of social communication and entertainment will get people more opportunities to meet new people and make extramarital affair the biggest killer in marriage.