Chinese families rush to divorce as village faces demolition

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Almost all of the married couples in an eastern Chinese village have filed for divorce as their village faces demolition.

Jiangbei, close to the city of Nanjing in central Jiangsu Province, is scheduled to be bulldozed so the regional authorities can build a new high tech industrial park. The residents have been offered compulsory purchase compensation packages for the forced eviction, the Nanjing Morning Post reports.

But the 160 married couples living in Jiangbei quickly realised they would better off splitting up. While each affected couple is entitled to 220 square metres of replacement housing, both spouses would receive a replacement home as well as a compensation payment of 131,000 Yuan (£15,488) if they were divorced.

The affected couples range from recently married young people in their 20s to elderly pensioners.

Despite the mass filing for divorce, most of the couples intend to continue living together the newspaper claims.

One of the village’s older residents, in his 80s, said his marriage had been a good one but the compensation on offer was impossible to refuse. Another man explained that, in his rush for the compensation he had not really considered the possibility of remarrying his wife at a later date.

“It’s not something I care for now. Everyone is doing it. We’ll deal with the other matters later.”

An unnamed lawyer, meanwhile, warned that the divorcing couples could be penalised and urged the Jiangsu authorities to adjust their land compensation policies to discourage such staged divorces.

Jiangbei is only one of a number of villages across the giant Asian nation to respond in the same way after local authorities suddenly announced plans to demolish their homes. Last year the inhabitants of Daocao’ao in Yunnan Province also divorced en masse in a bid to increase their compensation payments.

Photo of Nanjing government offices by Farm via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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