Mixed-marriage divorces on the rise in Shanghai

08:01, July 23, 2010      

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Though mixed marriages have seen a slight downturn in the city, the number of divorces in such marriages have not.

A judge with Putuo District People's Court said the court has witnessed a 5 percent annual increase in divorce proceedings for couples in which one is not a Chinese native, the Legal Daily reported early this week.

Citing a recent typical case, the judge said a 45-year-old Chinese woman had filed for a divorce from her Japanese husband, whom she had married just 20 days after they met. The woman said the man returned to Japan the second day after they got married and they have had no further contact.

Wang Fei, a judge of the civil court, said such divorces are commonly seen as these marriages are not based on love.

According to Wang, most divorce proceedings involving foreigners are initiated by Chinese females aged between 40 and 50, most of whom have been married more than once, and are unemployed with no stable income. These women sometimes marry foreign men in the hopes of immigrating to another country or having a better life, but later divorce their foreign husbands if this goal did not come true.

Many divorce cases get even more complicated as matchmaking agents and high service fees are involved, Wang said.

International matchmaking services are banned by the Chinese civil affairs department but the business is still making big profits.

"Some matchmakers did their jobs in the name of helping friends or relatives while they charge money," Wang said. "It is difficult to determine the nature of the agents' matchmaking activities and hold them responsible."

Zhou Jixiang, head of the marriage registration office with the Shanghai civil affairs bureau, said marriage registration centers cannot make any judgments over why people choose to get married.

"In fact, our statistics show that in recent years, fewer people are registering for mixed marriages," Zhou said.

In the past, many Shanghai residents married foreigners, especially Japanese and Americans for immigration purposes, Zhou said.

"But now as Shanghai is developing at a fast pace and becomes a very nice place to live in, people don't need to marry foreigners to immigrate to other countries."

As many as 2,492 couples registered for mixed marriages at the marriage registration center of the Shanghai civil affairs bureau in 2009, about a 5 percent decrease from the previous year.

Previous data from the bureau shows that mixed marriages in the city rose constantly from 148 in 1978 to about 3,000 in 1994. And then the number was stable for a long time until it saw slight downturn in the mid-2000s.

Source:China Daily

(Editor:梁军)

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