Planet China

Separation anxiety

Divorce rates in China are rising at a rate that worries the authorities. But a district in Xi’an has come up with its own way to slow the process down. According to Yangcheng Evening News, earlier this month a 30 year-old woman, and her husband went to Chang’an District Civil Affairs Bureau to untie the knot. Instead of getting their divorce they were given a number and told to wait. A little later they were told by an official that the ‘divorce proceeding quota’ for that day had been exhausted and they’d need to come back the following day. The newspaper says this controversial measure has limited the number of divorces in the district to a maximum of 15 every day. The director of the local marriage registry office said they were aware a quota system would not reverse the divorce trend. However, the authorities hoped that it might stem cases prompted by “a fit of anger” or “blind impulse”. Statistics suggest that the district had 1,900 divorces in 2011, but the number dropped by 140 in 2012 after it introduced the measure, and fell a further 40 last year.

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