The rise of Chinese-foreign marriage in mainland China, 1979-2010

Publication Type:
Journal Article
China Information, 2013, 27 (3), pp. 347 - 369
Issue Date:
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This research note examines the growth of Chinese-foreign marriage in mainland China since 1979. From the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 until the early 1990s, Chinese-foreign marriage was an unusual occurrence in the country. Statistics compiled by the PRC's Ministry of Civil Affairs indicate that the number of couples registering a Chinese-foreign marriage in mainland China increased almost tenfold between 1979 and 2010, although that figure has since stabilized at a lower rate. The article explores these changes in three stages. First, it maps the architecture of the PRC's Marriage Laws and reform-era regulations on marriage registration, showing how Chinese-foreign marriages have been categorized as different types of 'cross-border' and international marriages. Second, it provides a statistical breakdown of the number, type and gendered composition of Chinese-foreign marriages registered in mainland China between 1979 and 2010. It concludes by highlighting the gendered character and spatial dimensions of mainland Chinese-foreign marriages, and pointing to their largely 'intracultural' as opposed to international bases. © The Author(s) 2013.
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