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Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 16:10 GMT
China tackles adultery

China is to amend its marriage law to try to combat a rise in adulterous relationships and domestic violence.

A senior parliamentary official, Hu Kangsheng, said current legislation needed updating to reflect social changes brought about by two decades of market-oriented reforms.


They have become subjected to the invasion of the decadent way of thinking and living of the Western world

Hu Kangsheng
Mr Hu said problems of adultery had arisen with some people who had become rich or powerful.

"We should not fail to see that there are some people who, when they become rich and powerful, become subjected to the obsolete and decadent ways of thinking of the feudalist society in the past," he said.

"They have also become subjected to the invasion of the decadent way of thinking and living of the Western world, for example there are some problems such as a second wife or a third wife or a concubine."

Domestic violence

He said family violence, such as wife beating, was also rising "as a result of resurgent male chauvinism".


Changes needed to facilitate the formation of a more civilised marriage and family system in the nation

Hu Kangsheng
Open discussion of domestic violence in China has long been taboo, but last year a spate of highly-publicised murders of women by their husbands provoked soul-searching in the official media.

Mr Hu said changes needed to be made to "facilitate the formation of a more civilised marriage and family system in the nation", but gave no details.

Correspondents say China's rising divorce rate has prompted the authorities to suggest making extra-marital affairs illegal, ordering adulterous partners to pay compensation and requiring a three-year separation prior to divorce.

The present marriage law, passed in 1980, already outlaws bigamy and domestic violence. It allows a quick straightforward divorce once "mutual affection is ended".

In a separate development, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said that the annual meeting of China's top advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), closed on Saturday with calls for "the complete reunification of the motherland" and for stepping up the campaign against corruption.

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See also:

06 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
China ups military spending
07 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese unemployment soars
08 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Top Chinese official executed
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