Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the Amendment to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China

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Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the Amendment to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China


(Adopted at the 21st Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on April 28, 2001)


At its 21st Meeting, the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress decides to make the following amendments to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China:

1. The second paragraph of Article 3 is amended to read: "Bigamy shall be prohibited. Anyone who has a spouse shall be prohibited to cohabit with another person of the opposite sex. Family violence shall be prohibited. Maltreatment and desertion of one family member by another shall be prohibited."

2. One article is added as Article 4, which reads: "Husband and wife shall be loyal to each other and respect each other; family members shall respect the old and cherish the young, help each other, maintain the marriage and family relationship characterized by equality, harmony and civility".

3. Article 6 is changed to be Article 7 and the second paragraph is amended to read: "(2) if the man or the woman is suffering from any disease which is regarded by medical science as rending a person unfit for marriage".

4. Article 7 is changed as Article 8, which is amended to read: "Both the man and the woman desiring to contract a marriage shall register in person with the marriage registration office. If the proposed marriage is found to conform with the provisions of this Law, the couple shall be allowed to register and issued marriage certificates. The husband-and-wife relationship shall be established as soon as they obtain the marriage certificates. A couple shall go through marriage registration if it has not done so".

5. Article 8 is changed as Article 9, which is amended: "After a marriage has been registered, the woman may become a member of the man's family or vice versa, depending on the agreed wishes of the two parties".

6. One article is added as Article 10: "the marriage shall be invalid if:

"(1) either of the married parties commits bigamy;

"(2) there is the prohibited degree of kinship between the married parties;

"(3) before marriage either of the parties is suffering from a disease which is regarded by medical science as rending a person unfit for marriage and which has not yet been cured after marriage; or

"(4) one of the married parties has not reached the statutory age for marriage".

7. One article is added as Article 11: "where marriage is contracted by coercion, the coerced party may appeal to the marriage registration office or the People's Court for annulment of such marriage. Such an appeal for annulment of marriage made by the coerced party shall be submitted within one year from the date of marriage registration. Where the party concerned whose personal freedom is illegally restrained, such an appeal for annulment of marriage shall be submitted within one year from the date of the restoration of the personal freedom."

8. One article is added as Article 12: "Any marriage that is invalidated or annulled is null and void from the very beginning. The parties concerned are devoid of any rights or duties of a husband and a wife. The property acquired by them during the period of their cohabitation shall be disposed of by agreement between the parties; if they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment on the principle of giving consideration to the unerring party. Where property is to be disposed of because marriage is invalidated as a result of bigamy, the rights and interests in respect of the property enjoyed by the party under lawful contract of marriage may not be encroached on. With regard to the children born by the party concerned, the provisions of this Law on parents and children shall apply."

9. Article 13 is changed as Article 17, and its first paragraph is amended: "The following property acquired by the husband and the wife during the period in which they are under contract of marriage shall be in their joint possession:

"(1) wages and bonuses;

"(2) proceeds of production and business operation;

"(3) incomes of intellectual property rights;

"(4) property acquired from inheritance or presentation, with the exception of such property as stipulated by the provisions of the third item of Article 18 of this Law; and

"(5) other property which should be in their joint possession".

10. One article is added as Article 18: "The property in the following cases shall belong to one party of the couple:

"(1) the property that belongs to one party before marriage;

"(2) payments for medical expenses received by one party who suffers physical injury, subsidies for living expenses granted to the disabled subsidies, etc.;

"(3) the property to be in the possession of one party as determined by will or by an agreement on gift;

"(4) articles for daily use specially used by one party; and

"(5) other property which should be in the possession of one party".

11. One article is added as Article 19: "The husband and the wife may conclude an agreement that the property acquired by them during the period in which they are under contract of marriage and the property acquired before marriage shall be in their respective possession separately or jointly or part of the property shall be in their possession separately and the other part jointly. Such an agreement shall be in written form. Where such an agreement is lacking, or the provisions in the agreement are not clear, the provisions of Articles 17 and 18 of this Law shall apply.

"The agreement concluded by the husband and the wife with regard to the property acquired during the period in which they are under contract of marriage and the property acquired before marriage shall be binding on both parties.

"Where the husband and the wife agree that the property acquired by them during the period in which they are under contract of marriage shall be in their possession separately, debts contracted by the husband or the wife shall be paid off with the property in the possession of the party of the husband or the wife, if the third person knows that there is such an agreement."

12. Article 15 is changed as Article 21, and its fourth paragraph is revised: "Infanticide by drowning, abandonment of infants and all other acts causing serious harm to infants shall be prohibited."

13. Article 16 is changed as Article 22, which is amended: "Children may adopt either their father's or their mother's surname".

14. Article 17 is changed as Article 23, which is amended: "Parents shall have the right and duty to protect and educate their children who are minors. If children who are minors cause damage to the State, the collective or individuals, their parents shall have the duty to bear civil liability."

15. Article 19 is changed as Article 25, and its second paragraph is amended: "The natural father or mother who does not directly bring up a child born out of wedlock shall bear the child's living and educational expenses until the child can live on his or her own."

16. Article 22 is changed as Article 28, which is amended: "Grandparents and maternal grandparents who can afford it shall have the duty to bring up their grandchildren and maternal grandchildren who are minors and whose parents are dead or have no means to bring them up. Grandchildren and maternal grandchildren who can afford it shall have the duty to support their grandparents and maternal grandparents whose children are dead or have no means to support them."

17. Article 23 is changed as Article 29, which is amended: "Elder brothers and elder sisters who can afford it shall have the duty to maintain their younger brothers and sisters who are minors, if their parents are dead or have no means to bring them up. Younger brothers or sisters who are brought up by their elder brothers or sisters and can afford it shall have the duty to maintain their elder brothers or sisters who lack not only the ability to work but also source of income."

18. One article is added as Article 30: "Children shall respect their parents' right of marriage, they are not allowed to interfere in the re-marriage of their parents or their life after re-marriage. The duty of the children for supporting their parents shall come not to an end with the change in the marriage contract of their parents."

19. Article 24 is changed as Article 31, which is amended: "Divorce shall be granted if husband and wife both desire it. Both parties shall apply to the marriage registration office for divorce. The marriage registration office, after clearly establishing that divorce is desired by both parties and that appropriate arrangements have been made for the care of any children and the disposition of property, shall issue the divorce certificates."

20. Article 25 is changed as Article 32, and two paragraphs are added as it's third and fourth paragraphs: "In one of the following cases, divorce shall be granted if mediation fails:

"(1) where one party commits bigamy or cohabits with another person of the opposite sex;

"(2) where one party indulges in family violence or maltreats or abandons family members ;

"(3) where one party indulges in the gambling, drug taking, etc. and refuses to reform after repeated persuasion;

"(4) where both parties have separated from each other for two full years for lack of mutual affection;

"(5) other cases which lead to the shattering of affection between husband and wife.

"Where one party is declared to be missing and the other party starts divorce proceedings, divorce shall be granted".

21. Article 26 is changed as Article 33, which is amended: "If the spouse of a soldier in active service desires a divorce, the matter shall be subject to the soldier's consent, unless the soldier has made grave errors."

22. Article 27 is changed as Article 34, which is amended: "A husband may not apply for a divorce when his wife is pregnant, or within one year after the birth of the child, or within six months after the termination of her gestation. This restriction shall not apply in cases where the wife applies for a divorce, or where the People's Court deems it necessary to accept the divorce application made by the husband."

23. Article 28 is changed as Article 35, which is amended: "If, after divorce, both parties desire to resume their husband-and-wife relationship, they shall apply for registration of remarriage with the marriage registration office."

24. Article 29 is changed as Article 36, and its first paragraph is amended: "The relationship between parents and children shall not come to an end with the parents' divorce. After divorce, whether the children are directly put in the custody of the father or the mother, they shall remain the children of both parents."

25. One article is added as Article 38: "After divorce, the father or the mother who does not directly bring up the child shall have the right to visit his or her child, and the other party shall have the duty to cooperate.

"The manner and time for exercising the right to visit a child shall be decided by the parties through consultation; if they fail to reach an agreement upon in this regard, the People's Court shall make a judgment.

"Where the visit to a child paid by the father or the mother is not conducive to the physical and mental health of the child, the People's Court shall terminate the right to visit; after the cause of such termination disappears, the right to pay visit to the child shall be resumed."

26. Article 31 is changed as Article 39, which is amended: "At the time of divorce, the husband and the wife shall seek agreement regarding the disposition of their jointly possessed property. If they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall, on the basis of the actual circumstances of the property and on the principle of taking into consideration the rights and interests of the child and the wife, make a judgment."

One paragraph is added as its second paragraph: "The rights and interests enjoyed by the husband or the wife in contracting land management on a household basis shall be protected in accordance with law."

27. One article is added as Article 40: "Where the husband and the wife agree in writing that the property acquired by them during the period in which they are under contract of marriage is in their separate possession, if one party has performed more duties in respect of bringing up the child, taking care of the old and assisting the other party in work, it shall, at the time of divorce, have the right to request the other party to make compensation for the above, and the other party shall do so accordingly."

28. Article 32 is changed as Article 41, which is amended: "At the time of divorce, debts incurred jointly by the husband and the wife during their married life shall be paid off jointly by them. Where their jointly possessed property is insufficient to pay the debts, or the property is in their separate possession, the two parties shall discuss alternative ways of payment; if they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment."

29. Article 33 is changed as Article 42, which is amended: "If, at the time of divorce, one party has difficulty in supporting himself or herself, the other party shall render appropriate assistance with his or her own property such as his or her residential house. Specific arrangements shall be made by both parties through consultation. If they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment."

30. The chapter of "Selvage Measures and Legal Liability" is added as Chapter V, and six articles are added as Articles 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 49:

(I) "Article 43 Where a person indulges in family violence or maltreats a family member, the victim shall have the right to advance a request; the neighborhood committee, villagers committee or the unit where they belong to, shall persuade the person to stop doing it and conduct mediation.

"Where a person is committing family violence, the victim shall have the right to advance a request; the neighborhood committee or the villagers committee shall persuade the person to stop doing it; the public security organ shall stop such violence.

"Where the victim advances a request, the public security organ shall, in accordance with the legal provisions on administrative penalties for public security, impose an administrative penalty on the person who commits family violence or maltreatment of a family member."

(II) "Article 44 The family member who is abandoned shall have the right to advance a request and the neighborhood committee, villagers committee or the unit where they belong to, shall persuade the person to stop doing it and conduct mediation.

"Where the abandoned family member advances a request, the People's Court shall, in accordance with law, make the judgment on payment by the person who abandons the family member to the victim for the costs of maintenance, upbringing or support."

(III) "Article 45 The person who commits bigamy, family violence, maltreatment or abandonment of a family member, if it constitutes a crime, shall be investigated for criminal responsibility in accordance with law. The victim may, in accordance with relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law, lodge a private prosecution with the People's Court; the public security organ shall investigate the case in accordance with law, and the People's Procuratorate shall institute public prosecution in accordance with law."

(IV) "Article 46 Where one of the following circumstances leads to divorce, the unerring party shall have the right to claim compensation:

"(1) bigamy is committed;

"(2) one party who has a spouse cohabits with another person of the opposite sex;

"(3) family violence is committed; or

"(4) a family member is maltreated or abandoned."

(V) "Article 47 If, at the time of divorce, one party conceals, transfers, sells off or destroys the property in the joint possession of the couple, or forge debts in an attempt to encroach upon the property of the other party, the former may get less or no property when the property in the joint possession of the couple is partitioned. After divorce, if the other party discovers the above, it may bring a suit in the People's Court to demand re-partition of the property in the joint possession of the couple.

"With respect to acts that hinder civil procedures as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the People's Court shall mete out sanctions in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Procedure Law."

(VI) "Article 49 Where there are other provisions by other laws on illegal acts against marriage or family and on legal liability for the acts, such provisions shall apply."

31. Article 34 is deleted.

32. Article 35 is changed as Article 48, which is amended: "Where a person refuses to abide by the judgment or ruling on the costs of maintenance, upbringing or support payments, or on the partitioning or inheritance of property, or visit to a child, the People's Court shall enforce the execution of the judgment or ruling in accordance with law. The individuals and unit concerned shall have the duty to assist such execution."

33. Article 36 is changed as Article 50, which is amended: "The people's congresses of national autonomous areas shall have the power to formulate adaptations in the light of the specific conditions of the local nationalities in regard to marriage and family. Adaptations formulated by autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties shall go into effect only after approval by the standing committee of the people's congress of the relevant province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government. Adaptations formulated by autonomous regions shall go into effect only after approval by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress."

34. This Decision shall go into effect as of the date of its promulgation.

The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China shall be amended respectively according to this Decision, the order of its articles shall be adjusted correspondingly, and it shall be re-promulgated.

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.
Original:

This work is in the public domain because it is exempted by Article 5 of Chinese copyright law. This exempts all Chinese government and judicial documents, and their official translations, from copyright. It also exempts news on current affairs (the mere facts or happenings reported by the mass media, such as newspapers, periodicals and radio and television stations as defined in Article 5 of the Implementing Regulations of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China), and calendars, numerical tables, and other forms of general use and formulas.

Translation:

This work is in the public domain because it is exempted by Article 5 of Chinese copyright law. This exempts all Chinese government and judicial documents, and their official translations, from copyright. It also exempts news on current affairs (the mere facts or happenings reported by the mass media, such as newspapers, periodicals and radio and television stations as defined in Article 5 of the Implementing Regulations of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China), and calendars, numerical tables, and other forms of general use and formulas.