Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fact of the Day: China's Soaring Divorce Rate

A lot of married couples in China are throwing in the towel.

Some 1.96 million couples divorced in 2010 in the mainland, more than double the number of people who tied the knot.

China's divorce rate has risen an average of 7.65 percent a year since 2003, when marriage laws were amended to make it easier to marry and divorce.

Previously, couples who wanted to split up had to get a written certificate from their workplaces or neighbourhood committees.

The high divorce rate has shocked many lawmakers in China, who are calling for a return for the bureaucratic practice as if that would deter couples from calling it quits.

The real root of the problem is the immaturity young couples in particular when it comes to relationships and the implications of being married.

Many hardly have any relationship experience by the time they get into university and their parents are constantly pressuring them to find their significant other, get married and have their only grandchild.

As a result many young people marry their first boyfriend or girlfriend -- after only dating for a few months. While the first few months are blissful, that doesn't mean marriage will end happily ever after.

A former colleague of mine is planning to get married to her mainland Chinese boyfriend after dating for about a year and on top of that they are having a long distance relationship with her in Xian and him in Hong Kong.

While I am happy for her, I am very concerned they are not really aware of what they are getting themselves into, only thinking of their preconceptions of what marriage is rather than the reality.

Another coworker told me about one of her friends who married and divorced in a matter of months. And she knows a few other people who have had similar outcomes within a year or two of tying the knot.

The government cannot interfere too much in people's lives, telling them when they should get married and to whom anymore. But it can educate young people more about sex education to at least give them more knowledge about relationships and also try not to give in too much to their parents' expectations.

But it's the parents or the schools themselves who are too prudish about having sex ed in classrooms, or would prefer their child to have more of an academic than a practical education.

Young people today should be given more time to establish their careers before they can begin to think about marriage and children. Otherwise parents will have to continue bailing out their children.

Unless the young (pretty) women are looking to make a career out of being concubines...

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