In China, you expect all statistics to look “big”, but, provincial bumpkins that we are, it can still be shocking. This report (in Chinese) informs us that about 90 couples a day (thirty thousand a year) are getting divorced in Shanghai. With that many people untying the knot every day, privacy has become an issue, so now the city has several rules and regulations that the folks at the divorce registration office have to follow. For example, they can only meet with one couple at a time, they have to talk with them face to face, offices cannot be smaller than 30 square meters, etc. If there is in fact a breach of privacy, the owner of the big mouth gets a good dose of schooling on the matter, then gets moved to another office and perhaps another job.
We found this 2005 China Daily article and it says there that “last year” (we assume 2004), more than 27,000 couples
came to their senses got divorced, which is about 75 a day. Whether you count this as a span of one year or two, jumping from 75 to 90 is bit alarming. Looking down that article, we found some information about marriage/divorce trends, and this intriguing one in particular:
The fourth trend is that the one-night-stand broke up more than one thousand couples in the City last year.
Shanghaiist doesn’t know about you, but we think those kinds of studies (and media reports based on them) are so bogus. Think about it — how many couples are created by the oft vilified one night stand? Didn’t take that into account now did you, China Daily? What happened to both sides of the story and journalistic standards?
But seriously folks, divorce is not for the faint of heart. That’s why this year, some 135 folks started a Divorce Club in Shanghai. Now, the club is there as a support network, and its founder is one Shu Xin, who according to this article was once a journalist writing marriage columns until he realized how much more money he could make setting up a marriage clinic. He’s since become an expert on marriage, though we don’t know if he’s just the Divorce Club president or if he’s a member, too. Shu’s come across some interesting cases in this capacity:
… one of his clients, a woman in her 40s, revealed to him that her husband had not had sex with her for 16 years.
She had thought of divorce before, but her brother who works in a local court and her sister, a government official, stopped her by saying that: “You would die if you don’t eat, but would you die if you don’t have sex?”
It seems that our mistrust of Chinese jurists and officials is not misplaced after all. What kind of human beings would say to their own sisters?
In other news, there is a growing momentum behind the opinion that having a long-term mistress (bao er nai) should be considered a crime under the polygamy (chong hun) laws. You can read about that here and here (both in Chinese). We read somewhere (can’t find it now) that a woman who had long suffered the insults of her husband’s affairs was able to get a court to prosecute him on that, which allowed them to get divorced and also pretty much bankrupted him. Shanghaiist’s old downstairs neighbor has been considering this quite seriously as an option of last resort, ever since she caught her husband (had him tailed), and he later “mysteriously” caught herpes and was incapacitated for several days. If the other woman doesn’t get the one million yuan she demands in order to have an abortion and the child is born, then our former neighbor will have all that much more evidence against her husband …