Chinese–international intimate relations: An Australian case study of migrant marriage and divorce

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Sociology, 2021
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© The Author(s) 2020. This article analyses trends in Chinese–international marriages and divorces, using Australia, a major migrant-receiving country, as a comparative case study. In exploring the recent rise of ‘Chinese–foreign’ marriage in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), we show that Chinese–international marriage within mainland China is a small, gendered phenomenon that largely involves Chinese women marrying men from other Asian societies. By examining unique data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we reveal that most marriages involving PRC-born people in contemporary Australia are between two people born in China. But the displacement of Chinese intimate relationships to a non-Asian country results in significant behavioural divergences from couples ‘at home’, especially regarding prior cohabitation. Marriages solely involving PRC-born couples in Australia are also typically less enduring than marriages to non-Chinese. We argue that these differences underscore the roles of country-specific immigration policies and labour mobility patterns in shaping unpredicted family formation behaviour.
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