The Land of the Broken-Hearted: Shenzhen’s Divorce Rate Doubles in Six YearsPosted: 01/29/2015 9:22 am
Nearly 16,000 couples in Shenzhen divorced in 2014, doubling the number from 2009, according to official figures released recently. Interestingly, most of the divorces were filed by women, Shenzhen Daily reported yesterday.
“The divorce rate is growing by more than 10 percent each year,” said an official with the Shenzhen Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau. “Many young couples broke up without careful consideration soon after finding out they can’t get along well,” he added, presupposing that the marriages themselves weren’t the rash decisions.
The paper has more:
A 33-year-old woman, surnamed Chang, is one of the many women who divorced their husbands last year. She said she found out that her former husband behaved chauvinistically shortly after they got married in 2013. She insisted that they get divorced. “Sometimes I didn’t know why I decided to marry him. I had to work, and I earn even more than him, but he still ordered me to cook and take care of all the housework,” she said.
According to the Longgang District marriage registration office, most divorces filed last year were by people under 35, particularly women. An unidentified representative of the office said that most people born in the 1980s are single children and that “they are very self-centered, intolerant and not good at communicating.”
Last year, a couple filed for divorce because they couldn’t agree on whose parents they should visit during Spring Festival.
Ning Yuan, a marriage counselor, said women are increasingly more economically independent in Shenzhen and usually demand equal relationships in the family setting.
However, many local men still expect their wives to handle all the housework, she said, and furthermore they just don’t know how to care for women. “In the past, a satisfactory family depended on the husband’s income. Now the circumstances have changed. Women have become more confident and aware of their independence,” said Ning.
Fu Xianyang, a lawyer from Guangdong Everwin Law Office, said the trend is a common phenomenon among countries going through transitional periods into the modern society. Many already modern societies have skyrocketing divorce rates, with the United States at 53 percent in 2011 and the European Union at 44 percent in 2010.
“From my experience, more and more couples have filed for divorce. Some divorced couples are younger than before. Some have been married for only less than five years,” said Fu.
Most of the world’s cultures have long attached stigmas to divorce and China is no exception. An ancient proverb admonishes newlyweds to “be married until your hair turns white.”
The situation of the majority of divorcees being those born in the 1980s contrasts with, say, the United Kingdom, where the over-60 set is the only demographic in which the divorce rate has risen. One of the reasons cited for this is a decreasing stigma attached to divorce.