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Debate: Marriage Law , no money no marriage, Good or not?

Does the latest judicial explanation of the Marriage Law favor men? Three experts come up with divergent interpretations.

Another example of income divide

Besides the old civil service examination and now the national college entrance exam, Chinese people can enter a higher social rank by other means as well. And marriage remains a universal way for a low-ranking individual to ascend higher, even though such a marital match does not necessarily entail a happy ending.

Indeed, people can get "upgraded" by marrying someone more socially superior and share the spouse's social resources, including his/her fortune. In this sense, marriage is a macrocosm of the social equality mechanism, although such "social climbing" and resource sharing is despised by many and believed to corrupt marriages.

However, the fact is, money worship does not arise from mere views of value but from social inequality. In a society where only a small number of people control most of the resources, the majority of social members are stuck in a lower status one generation after another and rack their brains to "climb up".

The increasingly common mindset of "no money, no marriage" reflects a widening wealth disparity, and it seems that our society fails to come up with effective measures that would make "low-ranking" individuals give up their efforts to improve their social status through marriages and resign themselves to fate.

But recently there has risen a "barrier" that may keep "low-ranking" individuals where they belong. Eight months after it stopped soliciting public opinions, the Supreme People's Court issued the new judicial interpretation of the Marriage Law, stipulating that real estate mortgaged and registered in the name of one party should be acknowledged as that party's property in a divorce case, even if both parties repay the loan together within their marital relationship.

Besides, real estate bought by parents and registered under their offspring's name remains the personal property of the offspring even after he/she gets married. In other words, one party's real estate, a most important form of private property, will not go through any title transfer after marriage.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the stipulation almost crushes the dreams of many who wish to improve their social status through marriage. They can still marry estate owners, but once they get a divorce, they should pack their bags and leave homeless.

In ancient times, different tribes established or enhanced alliance through marriages. In modern times, people alleviate social status through marriage. Marriage per se has its inborn utility, which cannot be denied and killed by moral preaching.

With social equality still being an ideal, people become socially mobile through marriage, but the divorce property rules of the new judicial explanation downgrades the utility of marriage. The stronger party in marriage with real estate ownership undoubtedly gets the upper hand, because he/she has no need to worry about property title transfer coming with the dissolution of marriage.

Real estate is currently taking up a large proportion of family property, but since the new judicial explanation stipulates that real estate acquired before or within a marital relationship will not be considered mutual property in a divorce case, other forms of family property will probably take a larger proportion. If that is the case, one may wonder whether the Supreme People's Court will update the judicial explanation so that it can cover other forms of family property and prevent any title transfer in a divorce case as well.

For instance, what if one party's income is much higher than the other's? Is a new judicial explanation needed to clear each party's income and savings so that both parties can retain respectively what they have saved within their marital relationship? At that point, people should realize that wealth disparity not only exacerbates the gulf between classes but also splits a family apart, forcing the weaker party in a marriage to accept to his/her vulnerability.

While in the current phase of social transformation, Chinese people can easily sense that the more powerful class, property owners for instance, often overrides the grassroots not only in different aspects of daily life, but also in the legal field. And the new divorce property rules furnish nothing but a new example.

The author is a professor of sociology at Shanghai University. The article first appeared in Oriental Morning Post.


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lol! Thank you anyway!

It is only the skill used in the debate, I was the defenser for my University team.:). And Yes,  I was smiling last night and seeing you walking to the way I leaded to.

I think, many women think that this new law favors to men because in many ppl's minds, women dedicate more to the family than men after the marriage, even though men pay for the downpayment. And the dedicate doesn't mean money only, you know. In fact, I think chinese women indeed dedicate much more than western women, due to chinese culture. But as a foreigner, you'll not feel it.

But from the new law, women can not get pay-back if they get divorced. 

I agree with you, with this new law it seems like only cash is seen as a contribution to the family. It's unfair to women. But Western women dedicate themselves to their family as well, back home I know many women who don't work to take care of the kids. ;-)

ohh so you mean that what women wants during the marriage and husband buys for her after divorce she will lose and this is so painful right ???  as  normally would not be able to buy that  as she is able to make same decision but there is no one to buy for her .....

than dont marry at all. i guess , remember chinese man as well like to have mistresses so I would not be surprised if you shared many things with other women , but who cares? You would have your shiny, new leather high end bag to show off on the streets , where anyway 80% of them are fake so no one will appreciate that.


I still ask the question can rich women marry poor guy??????


well it is you who worry about money, looks like you dont have enough guts to take it in your hands and be independent, and buy house by yourself.

look what you are saying. first you say "No matter i like spend my future handsome money or not" and than you contradict "still i love that when he told  women take my money go to spend it." this is the funniest sentence and total disrespect to man and proof of what author is saying in the article and gov exactly works against this kind of people by ruling the new marriage law.


if you want to go back to 1960's than is your choice but that time at least husbands were picked by the parents and there was no disrespect. 



I still ask the question can rich women marry poor guy??????

I am not rich women also not poor women, but I can answer your question.

Yes! But this guy should be attrative in mind and outlook,smart and kind, and have the ability to create his own furtune after the support of the girl side. one word, cant be a loser!!


it seems you  have got it wrong ...... what it says about is property or inheritance recived before marriage. Any property generated after marriage belongs to the couple and their children.  in USA they have a concept of prenuptial contract to identify and decide ownership of assets owned by individuals before marriage.

Do you think by finding a golden goose be a way of getting rich or marriage should be for two people to get together and choose their course of destiny ............

actually according to that law what is purchased by husband belongs to husband , and if wife can proof that she participated with her income more than husband than of course what she bought belongs to her.

eg. husband bought house after the marriage , wife has not right to it after divorce.


prenup protects people wealth from before marriage which of course makes sens as if some millionaire marry 20years old super model than all should be well protected.



Nomatter what the marriage law is,as for girls ,earn the money by yourself  and marry the guy who makes you happy ,you will not be hurt at all.



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