Earthquake blamed for rise in divorce cases in China

Monday, November 8, 2010

BEIJING - More people are getting divorced in China’s Sichuan province than in other areas of the country and experts blame a devastating earthquake for this.

The civil affairs ministry said some 1.3 million couples got divorced nationwide in the first nine months of this year, and Sichuan topped the list of divorcees with 102,596 couples untying the knot, China Daily reported Monday.

Last year, Sichuan ranked seventh in the number of divorcees nationwide. In Chengdu, the provincial capital, the number of divorced couples rose for seven consecutive years from 2003, when the revised rule on Marriage Registration came into effect.

The number has increased from 13,525 in 2003 to 39,020 last year. The revised regulation has to some extent facilitated divorces, according to Xu Anqi, director of the Chinese Association of Marriage and Family Studies.

Before 2003, couples had to first produce letters of introduction from neighborhood committees if they decide to part ways.

Now, they only have to show their identification cards, marriage certificates and divorce agreements to get divorce.

Social mobility has played a role in the jump in the province’s divorce rate, according to Chen Kefu, deputy chief of the Sichuan provincial department of civil affairs.

Each year, millions of young migrant workers from Sichuan leave the province in search of better job opportunities, leaving behind their spouses, which causes rifts among them, Chen said.

Guang Wei, a sociology expert with the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, blamed the May 12, 2008 earthquake in the province, for the rise in the divorce rate.

After experiencing the 8-magnitude earthquake, which killed more than 69,000 people and left 18,000 missing, many Sichuan residents began thinking life was short and unpredictable, and decided to live each day to the fullest, Guang said.

If they do not get along with their spouses, they decide to part ways, he said.


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