Shang­hai to black­list cou­ples who lie about mar­i­tal sta­tus

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@ chi­

Shang­hai res­i­dents who lie to con­ceal their mar­i­tal his­tory when reg­is­ter­ing for a mar­riage or di­vorce will be added to a credit black­list, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for them to ac­cess pub­lic wel­fare and ap­ply for jobs or loans.

The new pol­icy, to be­come ef­fec­tive on Sun­day, aims to pre­vent dis­hon­esty in the regis­tra­tion process, which is a re­cur­ring prob­lem, said Sun Xiao­hong, head of mar­riage af­fairs man­age­ment at the Shang­hai Civil Af­fairs Bureau.

He said cou­ples were once re­quired to present proof of mar­i­tal sta­tus from an em­ployer when reg­is­ter­ing to marry, but that rule was ended in 2003.

“Some­times we have found peo­ple who claim they have never been mar­ried, and have said as much to their part­ners, but they ac­tu­ally have mar­riage records in our data­base,” Sun told Shang­hai TV News. “Now, such peo­ple will be placed on the credit black­list for three years.”

Peo­ple who pro­vide fake ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing ID cards, mar­riage or di­vorce cer­tifi­cates, court de­ci­sions and court me­di­a­tion pa­pers, or who al­ter the in­for­ma­tion on these ma­te­ri­als will face the same pun­ish­ment, he said.

Res­i­dents have also sug­gested set­ting up a na­tional sys­tem for gov­ern­ment de­part­ments such as po­lice forces, courts and civil af­fairs bu­reaus to share in­for­ma­tion in an at­tempt to pre­vent il­le­gal regis­tra­tions.

In re­cent years, the ris­ing di­vorce rate in Shang­hai has been linked with poli­cies to cool the hous­ing mar­ket, with cou­ples look­ing to pur­chase a sec­ond home now re­quired to pay higher down pay­ments and sales taxes.

Civil af­fairs of­fices across the city were in­un­dated with di­vorce ap­pli­ca­tions in late Au­gust af­ter ru­mors cir­cu­lated of a loom­ing pol­icy in Septem­ber that would con­tine to rec­og­nize di­vorced cou­ples as mar­ried for up to a year in terms of hous­ing poli­cies.

“I be­lieve most cou­ples who have taken the ‘fake di­vorce’ ap­proach just re­ally wanted a bet­ter apart­ment and to save some money,” said Tang Tao, 33, who ad­mit­ted to di­vorc­ing his wife this year to save 100,000 yuan ($14,400) in sales taxes on a sec­ond apart­ment.


Yang Ga’nyu and her daugh­ter, Li Youxia, pose for a pic­ture on Satur­day out­side a new train sta­tion in Dongchang county, Gansu prov­ince. Above, the pair in the fam­ily’s home in 1996.

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