China fact of the day

The state-owned Shanghai Daily reported today that divorces now surpass marriages in China, with Shanghai reporting a 13.6 per cent rise in marital dissolutions last year, the biggest jump in recent years.

Here is more.

Addendum: This claim appears to be wrong, see the comments for further details.


Aging demographics obviously play a role, but a worrying sign of decadence. Urban living can't help.

Liberalism and 'modernization' produce fantastically productive economies (in some, but not all countries). They don't yield socially stable societies. Indeed, they undermine the family system that is the basis for life as we know it.

Too many dudes, not enough Sheilas.

"A change in capital gains tax rules announced in March prompted a sudden rash of divorces ... Since most of them planned to remarry immediately, that will also boost marriage numbers for this year – although Shanghai Daily points out that some men used the ruse to trick their spouses into getting divorced, so that they could run away with their mistresses."

the rest was interesting too

First two comments on this thread are social conservatives implying that China was better off poor and backward, because hey, at least people stayed put in their unhappy marriages rather than moving on! You guys have got to figure out a better sales pitch for your desired society.

Can you aspire to nothing higher than "plasma TVs and weak marriage"? I say this as someone who likes plasma TVs!

Nice strawman, F grade in Logic 101, repeat next term.

I assume that was in response to Geoff.

This is not a fair reading. Worrying about the downsides of a modern economy does not equal thinking that poverty is better.

"because hey, at least people stayed put in their unhappy marriages"

women are less happy today after 40 years of feminism. you were saying?

Shanghai Daily got it wrong. It's the growth of the divorce rate that exceeded the growth of the marriage rate. “There were more than 3 million couples applying for divorce, an increase of 8% from the year before,while the number of newly married couples was just over 13 million, representing with a 1.6% increase, in 2012. ”
The report in Chinese is here.

Good catch, Yuan Fei.

good news: Chinese journalists suck just as much as ours!

(a) Divorces mean freedom.
(b) China needs more freedom.
=> China needs more divorces.

By the same argument, one might say that America needs more Ku Klux Klan members, because the existence of the Ku Klux Klan means that we have freedoms of assembly and speech, and we want to strengthen those freedoms.

One could argue the legal freedom to get divorced easily is good. But the quantity of people taking advantage of that is governed by social norms, and doesn't say much about freedom. Saying "more divorce is good" is simply expressing a preference for one societal norm over another, not preferring freedom over unfreedom.

I read Andreas's comment as partly tongue in cheek, which is reminder #100 million that it's impossible to read tone over the internet. Better to be safely inscrutable like our host.

The right tp choose to enter into lifelong marriage is a freedom; therefore, no fault divorce limits freedom because it takes away a desired choice.

freedom is not an absorbing state, nor is it always stable. free to grow is desired too.

That is nonsensical. The right to leave a marriage, too, is a freedom.

Here, "nonsense" means diverging from my opinion? Actually, there is no nonsense in viewing the right to commit oneself durably as part of freedom. If we could void commercial contracts and partnerships unilaterally without fault as we can marriages, we would not have more business freedom. Instead we would have what we have for marriage, socially destructive interference in the freedoms of the people.

I fear that you may be arguing divorce with a lot of these guys:


"there is no nonsense in viewing the right to commit oneself"

As well as the right not to commit oneself durably, or to change one's mind.

It is nonsense to view the right to undo durable commitments as a freedom; analytically, a right to undo durable commitments is simply an abolition of durable commitments. So, if freedom required the right to undo commitments, then freedom requires the absence of commitments but this is contrary to your hypothesis that both are required.

No society in history has ever offered "freedom" without durable commitments, e.g., through contractual obligations, property conveyance, incorporation, etc. Abolishing durable marriage commitments has done exactly what allowing shareholders to "no fault" divorce corporations would do, i.e. create social chaos.

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