Marriage Law of the PRC (1 January 1981) and revisions (2001)

Marriage Law of the PRC (1 January 1981) and revisions (2001)
One of the major steps the PRC took to counter age-old forces that undermine women’s status is the Marriage Law of 1950. It outlawed arranged marriages, concubinage, footbinding and child marriages, and provided greater access to divorce for women. The 1981 Marriage Law reinstated much of the 1950 law while extending some of its provisions. The minimum marriage age was raised by two years to twenty-two for men and twenty for women, in order to encourage late marriage and delay childbirth, both deemed necessary for slowing population growth. Restrictions on divorce were further relaxed so that it could be granted even if only one spouse felt it was necessary. Like its predecessor, the 1981 law was followed by a rise in divorce. Moreover, the principle of equality between the sexes was emphasized in language that reinforced men’s and women’s equal status in the home and their shared responsibility in caring for parents and children.
On 28 April 2001, the National People’s Congress approved a set of revisions to the 1981 Marriage Law. These revisions were deemed necessary because social and economic changes in the reform era had rendered the old law inadequate, especially in areas of adultery, domestic violence, divorce, property rights and elderly care. The 2001 revisions specify that adultery and domestic violence are illegal and that the violating party can be prosecuted and has legal responsibility to compensate the other party. This is a response to policy-makers’ concern over increasing cases of infidelity, husbands having mistresses (‘bao ernai’) and domestic dispute, especially in the most developed parts of China.
These are widely interpreted as symptoms of spiritual pollution (see socialist spiritual civilization) and as such must be controlled. Most importantly, the revisions introduce the concept of fault in divorce, especially when adultery, domestic violence, abuse or abandonment is involved. This is an extension of the previous laws’ philosophy of protecting the rights of women and children, as they are most often the victims in the above situations.
Addressing the increasing material wealth and re-emergence of private property in the reform era, the 2001 revisions provide elaborate definitions about joint and individual property within marriage, prenuptial agreement, and property allocation after divorce. In addition, the revisions specify the social and financial responsibility of children towards their parents and that of grandchildren towards their grandparents. By doing so, the government assigns elderly care to the household in light of the nation’s demographic changes—a shrinking number of children (see little emperors) and an expanding proportion of the elderly. As a whole, the 2001 revisions articulate more fully than previous laws the legal rights and responsibilities of spouses, children and parents.
Croll, Elizabeth (1984). ‘The Exchange of Women and Property: Marriage in Post Revolutionary China’. In R.Hirschorn (ed.), Women and Property—Women as Property. London: Croom Helm: 44–61.
Ma, Yuan (ed.) (2001). Xin hunyinfa yinan shijie [Explanations of Difficulties in the New Marriage Law]. Beijing: Renmin fayuan chubanshe.
Smith, Christopher J. (2000). ‘Gender Issues in the Transition Out of Socialism’. In idem, China in the Post-Utopian Age. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 289–320.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • reproductive health — in contemporary China must be understood in the context of eugenics and birth control. Like population control, eugenics was a taboo subject until the late 1970s when the PRC was about to announce its one child policy. In 1979, the desire to… …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture

  • feminism — in China has been intricately intertwined with both philosophy and political ideology. As early as the Zhou dynasty, men and women were associated respectively with notions of yang and yin in a philosophy that organized the world into polarized… …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture

  • adultery — Rejecting the polygamous sexual double standard of pre socialist China, the Maoist state sought to prohibit adultery by both sexes. An adulterer might be forced to make a public self criticism, or be demoted or even dismissed from a work unit.… …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture

  • china — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. a translucent ceramic material, biscuit fired at a high temperature, its glaze fired at a low temperature. 2. any porcelain ware. 3. plates, cups, saucers, etc., collectively. 4. figurines made of porcelain or ceramic material …   Universalium

  • China — /chuy neuh/, n. 1. People s Republic of, a country in E Asia. 1,221,591,778; 3,691,502 sq. mi. (9,560,990 sq. km). Cap.: Beijing. 2. Republic of. Also called Nationalist China. a republic consisting mainly of the island of Taiwan off the SE coast …   Universalium

  • Charles Sanders Peirce bibliography — C. S. Peirce articles  General:    Charles Sanders Peirce Charles Sanders Peirce bibliography Philosophical:    Categories (Peirce) Semiotic elements and   classes of signs (Peirce) Pragmatic maxim • Pragmaticism… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”