Three million Chinese couples divorce in first three quarters

China | 2 Jan 2020 11:28 am

The number of divorces in China is expected to reach a record high in 2019 after climbing for 15 years.
Some 3 million couples have called their marriage off in the first three quarters of the year, 200,000 more than in 2018, the Global Times reports.
Divorces soared from 1.3 million in 2003 to more than 4.5 million in 2018, according to statistics by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. 
Meanwhile, 74 percent of divorces between 2016 and 2017 were initiated by women, Zhou Qiang, chief justice of the Supreme People's Court, said in a speech at Tsinghua University in November, reported jcrb. com, a website of Procuratorial Daily under the guidance of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. 
A video clip of the speech widely circulated on China's social media on Monday.  
Zhou said divorces came three years after marriage on average and most couples had an age gap of between 0-3 years. 
China's draft civil code will be submitted to next year's annual session of the National People's Congress for deliberation, proposing a 30-day cooling-off period for couples who apply for a divorce. 
During the 30 days, either party can withdraw the divorce application from the marriage registration office. 
The soaring divorce rate has drawn wide public attention, and the related topic was viewed 200 million times on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo platform as of press time. 
Some internet users believed the cooling-off period could reduce hasty decisions and save marriages, although cases involving domestic violence complicated the issue. 
Xia Yinlan, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said that the introduction of a cooling-off period might reduce the divorce rate.
But its intent was not to restrict people's freedom of divorce, Xia remarked. 
Xia continued to note that the cooling off could give buffer time for couples with young children as their divorce would result in problems including child custody.

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