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China sees alarming rise in divorce

By Han Bingbin (China Daily)

11:46, November 13, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- There are many social indicators to a country's development. Unfortunately, one of those signs seems to be a rising number of broken marriages. In China - now the world's most populous country and its second-strongest economy - Han Bingbin looks at the heartbreak, and searches for the reasons why.

It was Valentine's Day. Wang Xiaobo (a pseudonym) had been in line since early morning to register her marriage. In front of her, couples were carefully threading their way into a little room and filing out from the other side. It made her think: "It's exactly like an assembly line." The process was so quick and simple that many couples came out slightly bewildered and wondering: "Are we married already?" For Wang, her feelings were slightly more complex. This was her second time in the line. The first time was four years ago, in 2007, a year after she graduated from college. Her husband then was seven years older, a man she considered "mature, considerate and good at cooking" and who gave her "a strong sense of security". She had married him after they dated for two years and unlike her classmates who were still playing the field and shopping for the perfect mate, Wang was content with her choice and expected a "stable and happy" life after marriage.

But the rude awakening came sooner than she expected.

It was not the perfect match she thought it was. They spoke less and less to each other until conversations were reduced to curt greetings when they met at home after work.

Wang also found her husband sexually indifferent and, in their 16-month-long marriage, their sex life was practically non-existent. She tried to find out what was wrong, but he dodged the question every time.

She concluded that the love was gone, and it was around this time that she started an affair. Things deteriorated quickly and, one day, she moved out and asked for a divorce. To her surprise, her husband agreed.

With that, Wang became part of the statistics that show an alarming rise in divorce in China. Figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that in the first three quarters of 2011, 2.8 million couples registered for divorce, up 12 percent year-on-year.

That translates to more than 10,000 families breaking down every day.


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