Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 12:12 UK

No divorce during China holiday

Wedding couple in parade rehearsal
Marriage officials will work hard to process wedings, but not divorces

Couples in China's biggest provincial municipality will not be allowed to divorce during celebrations of 60 years of communist rule.

But weddings will go ahead in Chongqing during the eight-day holiday beginning on Thursday, according to China Daily.

Officers at marriage registration centres said they could not cope with the high demand for weddings and also issue divorces.

Seven out of 10 districts told the newspaper they would not process them.

"We will be working voluntarily during the holiday to issue marriage certificates, but we will not be making any divorce appointments," officer Wang, who is in charge of the Marriage and Adoption Registration Centre in Yuzhong district in central Chongqing city, told the China Daily.

Extra staff

Zhang Li, an officer from the registration office in Dadukou district, said the National Day holiday period was popular with people wanting to wed.

She said staff members from other departments were being drafted in and workers were being told to arrive early and work through lunch breaks.

"But, so far, we have not received any calls asking us to process a divorce during the eight-day holiday," Zhang Li said.

China Daily said that there seemed to be support on the streets not to issue divorces, although some people questioned the rationale.

"Marriage and divorce are both serious decisions affecting people's lives. Priority should not be measured by the number of applications but by the degree of urgency," said 25-year-old Yuan Baoying.

China considers the anniversary celebrations one of the highlights of the year - a chance to trumpet the achievements of the last 60 years of communist rule.

The focus of the celebrations will be a military parade through Tiananmen Square and central Beijing. President Hu Jintao will also make a keynote speech.

As with last year's Olympic Games, the government wants to ensure nothing disrupts or distracts from the carefully planned celebrations.

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