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|Tuesday, September 12, 2000, updated at 11:02(GMT+8)|
Opinions Split on Marriage LawDisputes over the second amendment to the current marriage law have become more heated than a lover's spat as a draft is expected to go to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for preliminary reading this October.
The arguments broke out at a meeting of the Social Science Academy of Shanghai, which invited local experts and law practitioners to state opinions on the amendment.
The amendment will include changes to clauses concerning family property, conditions for divorce and domestic violence.
Deng Weizhi, vice-chairman of the China Social Studies Society and a professor at Shanghai University, said a law allowing non-fault divorce is a symbol of social development and he opposed a new law making divorce harder.
"The media and many experts have been over-emphasizing the misfortune caused by divorces," Deng said. "That might not be true. We need more study to clarify the reality."
Jin Yihong, a researcher from the Social Science Academy of Jiangsu Province, added that trying to stop couples from separating by legal means only prolongs the divorce process.
Xu Anqi, assistant director of the Women's Studies Centre of the Shanghai academy, said the freedom to divorce rather than limitations shows that a culture is developed and a civilization advanced.
Liu Dalin, vice-chairman of the Sex Studies Association of Asia and founder of the first sex museum in China, said requiring three years of separation before divorce is "cruel."
"That is too long," Liu said. "When they are finally freed from the dead marriage, their youth is over and it's very hard for them to start their new life."
Lin Yinmao, a researcher with the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, addressed the division of property after divorce.
She proposed the principle of "favouring the non-fault party" but added that identifying the "faulty" party should be done with discretion.
She also suggested stipulating punishments for divorcees who "conceal, transfer or destroy mutual property during or before the process of divorce."
She added: "There should be a concept of family property. For example, children's property should be separated from that of their parents, and the husband's or wife's income from part-time jobs belongs to their mutual property, too." (Chinadaily)
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