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English>>China Society

Healthy debate over premarital checks

(China Daily)

10:04, November 26, 2012

Top: A young woman takes a premarital checkup in Wuxuan county in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, one of the provinces that offer free pre-marital checkups. Chen Dongmei / Xinhua
Above: A couple take a premarital physical examination in Chongqing. [Photo/China Daily]

Growing calls for potential couples to take tests, report Yang Wanli and Li Yingqing from Yunnan.

'If you found any health problems that might affect whether or not you can have a child, would you still get married?" asked Xue Peng.

The 32-year-old engineer from Beijing, who married in 2006 after dating his wife for three years, was commenting on the rise in the number of calls for compulsory premarital health checks.

For Xue, the checks impose unnecessary external factors on prospective brides and grooms, factors that may affect the relationship: "Marriage is all about love, which means you are willing to spend your whole life with the other person, in sickness and in health."

Only 7 percent of couples that married in Beijing in 2011 underwent a premarital medical check, but the figure was closer to 100 percent a decade ago.

Compared with rates in other cities or provincial areas, Beijing is at the bottom.

In days gone by, people in China were not allowed to marry without permission from their work units, which insisted on premarital health checks, but the requirement was scrapped when new marriage registration rules came into force on Oct 1, 2003 and the decision was left to the individual.

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