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.
but what is really weird and peculiar about that article that chinese women so much wants to marry for money more than for LOVE. I just cant understand that how people can force themselves to live with someone only for money and whole life pretend.
Please dont think it in this way. pretty ppl has their advantage, normal ppl has their advantage, also.
Guys have the freedom how to spend their $. women has the freedom to make them pretty or non pretty.
pretty girls has to work hard also, you cant blame someone just because she is pretty, we pay our bread, we dont just accept anything from guys...if a good man spend some $ on you, not just because you are pretty, it is because he likes you. non pretty girls deserve man's care and love also, it just might be harder, this is why you work harder to make yourself look more pretty and attractive.
there is nothing wrong for men like pretty girls, girls like handsome men also!
i think a non pretty girl can be attractive also, men will love her will spend some $ on her, it is depends.
I can see you love your brother and parents very much.
you are a nice sister. i am sure when you ever have some troubles, he will help you.
I love my brother and parents also, I supported them very well, and i dont expect them to return, they surpported me to go to school, even though my return is a lot more than what they gave to me. but i am happy to help them, i wish them happiness. but i also wont spoil them, so my brother is working hard by himself, everyone is well, so this is a good thing to do.
unbelievable statement Gao, sad indeed.
i hope your future husband will not see that.
some ppl do think like that, they think money is safer than men, sometimes, it could be ture.
but I dont think money and guys are in the same level.
money is just a thingy, but a guy who u love and he truly loves you, it is way more valuable than money.
In my opinion,I dont think Chinese women all want to marry to money.
there are might some people in all over the world, they want to marry to the money.
but i am chinese and i dont want to marry to money, what kind of marriage is it without love???
i am sure many of my girls friends, they wont marry someone just bcz he has a lot of money.
you can love money, but u cant just get married for $, you have to love the guy you choose! it is not fair for the man and yourself.
But i think men/women are smart enough to figure out what kind of women/men should you marry to.