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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Marriage at risk for China's migrant workers

(Xinhua)

09:10, March 02, 2012

NANNING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- As a young judge in China's underdeveloped southwestern region, Li Ting was surprised to learn about how many rural couples had tried to end their marriages over the past month, just after Chinese New Year festivities had ended.

"I remembered there was a week that 26 of the 28 couples who came to the court to untie the knot involved migrant workers," said Li, a 24-year-old judge in Tiandeng county of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

After communicating with judges from other courts, Li realized that what she had experienced was not an isolated phenomenon.

A judge in the region's Guanyang county said that the number of divorce cases involving young rural couples that his court had handled nearly tripled from 2007 to 2010.

Most of the couples were among the 240 million migrant workers who had flooded to the affluent coastal regions and big cities for better pay.

In Tiandeng, a county with 400,000 residents, one fourth of its population have left home for jobs in cities.

Being separated for a long time is mainly blamed for the rising number of failed marriages in China's relatively poor rural regions where divorce was once rare due to deep-rooted traditional values, said Sun Xiaoying, an expert with the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences.

Sun explained that in many cases, only the husband leaves for work in cities while his wife must stay at home to take care of the older and younger family members.

Being apart from their husbands, nearly 70 percent of stay-in-hometown wives of migrant workers in the southern province of Guangdong have psychological problems, according to a recent research by the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang's Guangdong committee.

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