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Chinese legislator calls for premarital training to reduce divorce rate

2021/3/4 8:58:00   source:Global Times

Ahead of China's two sessions, a Chinese legislator has proposed to carry out trainings among wannabe couples before they are to tie the knot, as the country is seeing an increasing divorce rate and decreasing marriage rate. The proposal has raised doubt on how much the authorities should intervene in people's decisions on marriage.

Chen Aizhu, an National People's Congress deputy from East China's Zhejiang Province told the media that she hopes such measures will help improve harmonious relations in families and reduce divorce rate.

Carrying out premarital trainings is to help to improve people's sense of responsibility to the family, encouraging the new couples to be loyal in marriage and cherish their family, Chen said. She suggested that marriage and family associations to organize the trainings among the young people before they walk into a marriage.

As people's attitude toward marriage are getting more open now, some young people get married in haste without a solid base in their love relationship, and then divorce in haste over trivial disputes, Chen said, adding that in some families, discords between couples will bring negative effects on their children.

Besides the trainings on marriage, the wannabe couples are also advised to do health check before getting married, Chen said.

The proposal has sparked controversies on China's social media. Some lauded that such education will help the new couples to have a deeper understanding on love, marriage and family responsibility, make them well prepared psychologically for future life, and allow them to think twice before they make the big decision.

"The education on love and marriage has long in neglect in our country. Some people get married even when they don't understand their partners well or are still new to love life," a netizen commented.

But many doubt how necessary it is to make such trainings compulsory before getting a marriage certificate and questioned how much the authorities should intervene in people's decisions on marriage. Some claim that such a period and the 30-day cooling-off period required by the Civil Code that came into effect on January 1, will make both getting married and divorced complicated and difficult.

Zhang Jing, a Beijing-based marital lawyer, found that the main reason behind the hasty divorce cases she handled is a lack of understanding among couples and a reckless attitude toward marriage; therefore, education on the responsibilities of marriage is very necessary.

However, Zhang said that such education should be more about guiding values rather a mandatory process before registration, as making it compulsory might make people less willing to get married. "I would recommend promoting such education at an earlier stage, such as among students, to help young people establish a correct attitude toward marriage," she said.

China has seen a continuous sharp drop in the marriage rate and increase in the divorce rate in the past eight years, a report shows. From 2013 to 2020, the number of marriage registrations fell from a record high of 13.47 million couples to 8.13 million, according to a report by Tsinghua University's Evergrande Research Institute.

The number of divorced couples registered in China, on the other hand, rose from 580,000 in 1987 to 3.73 million in 2020. 

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