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Leaps and Bounds: New marriage law in China unfair to women

Does the New Marriage-Law in China promote the equal rights for women or let it down?

On Aug. 12, China implemented a New Marriage Law amendment. The amendment changed the interpretation of China’s traditional marriage law. New, controversial rules are being talked about in China. Because there is a fierce debate within China, I also want to hear about the voice from outside of China.

All the debates seem to surround the issue of property. The new law has an enormous effect on wealth distribution. First, matrimonial property is no longer shared by both the husband and the wife if they did not have a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage. It means no matter how long you are engaged in a marriage, the person whose name is on the deed will have the ownership of the property until the end.

Before the amendment, if a couple got a divorce, they split their property evenly barring a few other circumstances (if either of them had committed bigamy, domestic violence, abandoned the family or lived with a lover for more than three months).

Now, in terms of the housing, if as a couple, you decide to pay the house monthly, then the party who pays for it the first month will have the ownership of the house. However, both of you still have to be responsible for the rest of the months’ loans. How unfair is this?

It really irritated a lot of Chinese people. Under this rule, I want to ask: How could people get sense of security from a marriage? People must pay for the things that may not belong to them in the future. But why? 

Nevertheless, men applaud the new marriage law. The reason is that, for a while, Chinese tradition dictates that the groom-to-be should provide the house for his new family and bring his engagement presents to his bride. They then put the house under the groom’s name unless they agree to add their wife’s name on the deed.

Moreover, whoever’s parents bought the house for the couple will be the owner of the house. Before, if the parents gave the house to the groom and bride as a gift, the house would be common property for both of them. In other words, divorced couples would split this house evenly no matter whose name was on the deed. 

Well, men are happy. However, in my opinion, the new marriage law doesn’t benefit our society or promote the marriage itself at all.

I’m not a feminist, but I cannot see there are any equality rights for women. Some of my e-pals question that this new marriage law will encourage men to have an extramarital relationship.

Men are no longer afraid of getting divorced when they find someone else to love because now they will not lose anything. As far as I can see, this new amendment’s function is to only reduce men’s responsibility for our generation in China.

In contrast, what can women get?

My male e-pal says the amendment is fair because women can keep their own property after divorced. Come on! We all know men are always in charge of the property of a family!

I believe most countries have such a tradition.

Also, now women are paying more attention to taking care of the family and feeding their children. Is their youth going to be wasted in vain? Who is going to pay for their work?

The answer is no one! It is awful.

People are getting less and less sense of security from their marriage. Now they have to worry about how they can love and how they must defend their marriage.

The new marriage law not only goes against equal rights for women, it also hurts the nature of marriage — love. 

Yun Ye is a junior studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Is this new law slated against women? Email her at  yy822809@ohiou.edu.

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