This Week in History: China Enacts New Marriage Law

By Ned Kelly, April 29, 2019

2 0

Marriage reform was one of the first priorities of the People’s Republic of China on its establishment in 1949. Up until this time, Chinese marriages were often arranged or forced, concubinage was commonplace and women could not seek divorce. 

On May 1, 1950 the New Marriage Law, or Xin Hunyin Fa 新婚姻法, was enacted. Personally delivered by Mao Zedong, who famously declared “Women hold up half the sky,” the law provided a civil registry for legal marriages, raised the marriageable age to 20 for males and 18 for females and stipulated that marriage had to be mutually consensual.

It immediately helped implement land reform, as it outlawed the common practice of selling peasant women to landlords (sometimes before entering puberty). The radical change from existing patriarchal traditions required constant support from propaganda campaigns, with the official slogan being “Men and women are equal; everyone is worth their salt.”

The New Marriage Law was superseded by the Second Marriage Law of 1980, which introduced the one-child policy and instructed the courts to favor the interests of women and children in property distribution in divorce. Further updates in 1983 legalized marriage with foreigners and interracial marriage.

Click here for more history stories.

more news

This Day in History: The Founding of Shanghai's Good 8th Company

The 8th Company of Shanghai Garrison, People's Liberation Army was founded on August 6, 1947, and since 1949 it has been stationed on Nanjing Lu.

This Day In History: Korean War's Operation Big Switch

The repatriation of remaining prisoners from both sides of the Korean War came with a few surprises.

This Day in History: China's Otherworldly 'Alien Sky Spiral' of 1981

A giant spiral in the sky, a spiral allegedly seen by 10 million people in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

This Day in History: The Foreign Founder Member of the CPC

The Dutch socialist who attended the First National Congress of the CPC.

This Week in History: The PRC Develops the H-Bomb

June 1967 sees China become the world's fourth thermonuclear power.

This Day in History: The Huanggutun Incident

On June 4, 1928, a train carrying warlord Zhang Zuolin from Beijing to Shenyang was ripped apart by a huge explosion.

This Week in History: US Passes Chinese Exclusion Act

The act effectively ended Chinese immigration to the US for 60 years.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.