Rich Chinese Couples Explore New Form of Marriage

  • China is as old as a developed country.
  • The Chinese government tries to increase the fertility rate in recent years.
  • New form of marriage between rich couples breaks traditions.

Will China get old before it gets rich? This is an important question frequently discussed in China and by its rivals. It’s a matter of national power. The answer, according to most, is Yes. And it is already happening. Statistics from the CIA show that China has the same median age as the US, which is not a good sign for a developing country where the income per capita is not even half the level of a common developed-country.

China is now as old as the US.

Sensing the imminent systematic danger, the Chinese government loosened the one-child policy to two-children in 2016. However, the fertility rate only boosted for a short period in 2016, and went back to a steady decline since. Fast-paced urban life and high pressure have left many Chinese couples unable and unwilling to support more than one child.

More and more even choose to be become Dink couples. Mostly, only families with more resources would consider having a second child. Even they, as a consequence of the only-child policy, are adopting a different view of having children.

Lately, several major newspapers covered a new form of marriage popular in the Yangtze River Delta, one of the richest areas in China. Liiang Tou Hun (LTH), or two-sided marriage, is a pre-written deal between couples.

In China, marriages have directions. A traditional one consists of the husband’s family paying the wife’s family some money called pinli, and the wife’s family returning some proportion called jiazhuang. Their kids bear the surname of the father, which is a symbol that the family has a successor in the Chinese culture. In some cases, the husband’s family can’t afford the Pinli while the wife’s is more fortunate. In this case, the direction of money flow changes and the kids will have the mother’s surname.

LTH covered on national television.

In LTH, however, there is no longer any direction. Noone’s family pays the other, and both buy their own houses, which means separate wallets. They will have two kids, first one surnamed after the father and the second one after the mother. There are more interactions with the parents than a traditional marriage; that is, the father and first kid often hang around with his parents while the mother and second kid with her parents. Each spouse will support their parents separately as they get older.

In LTH the two families are more distant.

On Zhihu, this new exploration of marriage has intrigued many people. Many think that it is a perfect way to both respond to the two-children policy, and to help pass the family surname when the family has only a female offspring. It’s an example of gender equality.

Some believe that LTH won’t become the solution. “It’s popular in the Delta because many families there are well endowed financially, the wife can afford to bring up a kid alone with the help of her own parents. In the rest of China, it’s not realistic.”

Some posts suggest that couples in LTH might break up easier than traditional couples because there is more “deal” than “bond” between them. Others are still waiting for better incentives for them to have more kids.

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Just another attempt to show a more real China.

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