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Divorce rates in China drop significantly as state comes in action

To counter the high divorce rates within the country, the Chinese government introduced "the cooling-off period." With this new strategy, the official statistics registered a 70% drop in divorce rates.

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Divorce rates have dropped in China as the state introduces measures to ensure family stability and social order.

Divorces rates in China reached an alarming level, with 1.06 million cases reported in the last quarter of the preceding year. With the introduction of a strategy of what they called, ‘cooling off period’ this year, the official statistics registered a 70% drop in divorce rates. Ministry of Civil Affairs reported that they received 2,96000 divorce cases in the first quarter of 2021, a 70% decrease from last year.

Under the new code, introduced on January 1st, the couple filing for divorce must wait for 30 days after submitting their application. During these 30 days, any party can reverse their divorce application. Then they must file another application after the month for the marriage to be ended.

Divorces had increased in China due to a drop in social stigma and greater autonomy for women. According to All-China’s Women Federation, 70% of divorces are instigated by women. Moreover, the ‘cooling-off strategy came under severe criticism for curbing the independence and freedom of people.

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Divorce rates had worried the policymakers since fewer marriages would affect the population growth in China.

“Marriage and reproduction are closely related. The decline in the marriage rate will affect the birth rate, which in turn affects economic and social developments,” Yang Zongtao, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said at a news conference last year.

“This (issue) should be brought to the forefront,” he said, adding the ministry will “improve relevant social policies and enhance propaganda efforts to guide the public to establish positive values on love, marriage, and family.”

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The cooling-off period is a key part of this push. It is an incentive for people to work and women to have children instead of working. The strategy came into effect after it was noticed that people rushed for divorce without the cooling-off period.

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