Cash in on divorce? Homeowners bet wrong

17:00, September 16, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

A frame grab shows lines of divorce-applying couples at the Civil Affair Bureau in Jiangning District of East China's Nanjing city. []

Hunched in his wheelchair, 70-year-old Chen was pushed by his grandson into a local Civil Affair Bureau on Monday to register his divorce. Sitting next to him was his gray-haired wife, married for half a century and mother of two sons and two daughters.

So why now after so long? Not their problems, Chen said to the local Xiandai Kuaibao newspaper.

"Our village is going to be demolished; if we get divorced, we will get more compensation for the extra household," Chen said, referring to the Kylin Sci-tech Zone in East China's Nanjing city that would compensate residents resettled due to the project.

The mentality is shared by 68-year-old Zhang. What adds to the irony is, despite Zhang having lived with his wife for over 30 years, he has yet to register as being married officially on record before applying for a divorce. His son helped secure the dual procedures, in three minutes.

On Monday, when the resettlement notice was unveiled, a mind-boggling 128 couples filed for divorce in Nanjing's Jiangning District, where the Sci-tech Zone would be located. It was rumored that divorces after the public notice would not result in more payments.

However, there were only 10 to 20 divorce cases each day before the notice, the Yangzi Evening News reported.

The problem appears to be the chaotic interpretations of the resettlement compensation. The rules vary by different regions in China. But, it generally follows that each household is entitled to a new home proportional in size to the demolished one, along with cash payment to settle the difference between owners of large and small house.

Here is the ruse: a divorced couple doubles the household number, so they are entitled to an extra home, or at least more compensation. Since property prices are already sky-high across the country and real estate is virtually worshiped as a symbol of social stature, it should come as no surprise that residents would get separated just to secure a windfall.

The bizarre event, far from being an isolated case in China, has already caught the attention of local government, which summoned an emergency meeting on Tuesday to stipulate that "shell divorces" won't work. An open letter has been issued to local residents, in an attempt to dispel the rumors.

News reports said local government also pledged to investigate and punish the "divorce swindlers." Resettlement deals would be annulled if there was any hoax. However, a column in the Huaxi Metro Daily cautions that residents should not be held responsible for a loophole in the rules made by the administration.

A frame grab shows lines of divorce-applying couples at the Civil Affair Bureau in Jiangning District of East China's Nanjing city. []



  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
  • The romantic myth of the Aegean 
The Aegean Sea is between the Greece Peninsula and Asia Minor Peninsula, dotted with many beautiful scenery islands, like a paradise on earth.  The ancient city of Troy in the east coast of Aegean, Turkey, and Mycenaean sites in the west bank of Greece, which have been archaeological discoveries, now are the must visit places in journey of the Aegean Sea. Above, these desolate dilapidated stone, the sunny blue sky and white clouds and vessels roaming at sea, arriving and departing travellers, add more romantic to the sea and the islands.
  • Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations Li Baodong (R) welcomes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the United States. Sept. 29, 2011. The Chinese permanent delegation to the UN held a reception on Thursday to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 40th anniversary of China's returning to the UN. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
  • Chinese ambassador to Bulgaria Guo Yezhou delivers a speech during the reception in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, on Sept. 29, 2011. The Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria held a grand reception here on Thursday to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. (Xinhua/Wang Meng)
Hot Forum Discussion