Interracial marriage in China illegal for women, but not for men

Posted June 15

Women in China are going to be barred from interracial marriage, a restriction that doesn't apply to the men to address an imbalanced sex ratio caused by the country's past one-child policy, according to news accounts.

"The Supreme People’s Court of China (on Wednesday) passed legislation that will ban Chinese women from marrying non-Chinese men, with the law coming into effect at the beginning of 2018," says an article in the East Asia Tribune. "The policy had been fiercely debated for a number of months before it finally won approval from the required number of legislators earlier (Wednesday.) Civil rights groups in China have condemned the restriction, pointing out that it discriminates against women by still permitting males to enter into interracial marriages."

It is, at its root, a math problem. Thanks to years of a one-child policy that favored having boys but not girls, the country has a very large imbalance in male-female marrying-age ratios. The policy is now gone, but challenges that resulted from it remain.

"Following decades of the one-child policy, China is now faced with a shocking gender imbalance — for every girl below the age of 18 in China, there are now three boys," the article noted. “‘The law was introduced in order to promote social harmony,' commented one of the People’s Courts legislators. 'We need to ensure there are enough Chinese women available for marriage; otherwise there is a high probability of increased levels of rape and other violence.’”

In April, the Deseret News reported that Chinese couples who obeyed the one-child policy are lashing out now that it has been abandoned and couples are being allowed a second child. "Chinese families that obeyed the government's rule that limited them to having only one child or face penalties are pushing back since the rule has been relaxed. They want the Chinese government to compensate them for what they gave up."

They claim that the rule cheated them of the opportunity to have more children, said an NBC News report.

According to the Associated Press at the time, "The decision is the most significant easing of family-planning policies that were long considered some of the party's most onerous intrusions into family life and which the party had gradually been undoing in recent years. The restrictions had led to an imbalanced sex ratio because of a traditional preference for boys, and draconian enforcement that sometimes included forced abortions."

The East Asian Tribune said one of the criticisms of the ban on interracial marriages for the women comes from the fact that many of the English as a Second Language teachers in China marry local women. A spokesman told the news site that “If our teachers are banned from marrying Chinese girls, they may not stay in the country as long, and we risk losing talented staff.”

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