“Marriage in China has entered a phase of uncertainty,” declares Chen Yijun, a marriage and family researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in yesterday’s People’s Daily. “The traditional Chinese marriage model has broken down amid the rapid transformation of Chinese society.”
As with just about everything else in China, the divorce rate here also appears to be on a skyrocket trajectory. According to the latest figures published by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the number of divorces rose 17.1% year on year in the first three months of 2011. That’s over 465,000 divorce cases from January to March — or 5,000 each day. Apparently couples in the age bracket 22 to 35 account for the bulk of cases, although there appears to an increasing rate of divorce among couples aged over 50.
What’s most curious about the latest figures is that Shanghai has bucked the national trend, reporting a fall in the number of divorce cases over the last three years.
Says Shanghai Daily:
The Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau saw 37,334 couples divorce last year, compared with 38,772 in 2009. In contrast, a total of 128,532 couples were married in the city last year, the bureau said.
Bureau official Lin Kewu attributed the decrease to volunteer teams set up by the bureau to dissuade people from hasty divorce. About a third of couples who opted for counselling had given up plans to divorce after listening to advice from the teams consisting of lawyers, psychotherapists and social workers.