Under Chinese law, the lowest legal marriageable age is 22 for men and 20 for women. In order to limit population growth, late marriage and late childbirth are encouraged. No matter how in love you are or how committed you are, you must wait until you and or your partner become legal before tying the knot. A deputy to the National People’s Congress has proposed that China lowers the marriageable age by two years, but the proposal is seemingly being firmly rejected by Chinese netizens.
The deputy, Zheng Jianjiang, CEO of AUX Group, has his reasons for lowering the limit. “Most countries’ marriageable age is 20 or 18 years old”, he says. Adding ”compared to other countries, China is a country whose marriageable age is relatively old.” But there is more to it. Lowering the marriageable age would alleviate problems brought on by the nation’s aging population.
On Sina Weibo a poll that asked whether netizens support the proposal revealed that most Chinese think lowering the marriageable age to 18 is a ridiculous idea. Over 32,000 have voted against it, with around 15,000 voting in favor.
Those who are against the idea, mostly think that 18 year-olds are too immature to make such important decisions:
我家灿烈会发光__: What a joke. Then when high schoolers ask for leave, their reasons will be more and more ridiculous: Teacher, I’m getting married today. Teacher, I’m getting a divorce. Teacher, I want maternity leave. Teacher, I have to sit the month. Teacher, my baby will be a month old. Teacher, my baby will be one year old… Teacher, I have to take my kid to the hospital. What else? Getting married in high school and having a kid could add 20 to the gaokao score?
Amy_姐_姐: What brainless idiot proposed this? Look at how it is in China. Who isn’t spoiled by their parents? Don’t even talk about 18 year olds, some people are not even mature at the age of 28. Getting married? Just wait for getting a divorce.
Aside from immaturity, netizen 钟离逸韵 believes that pressure will be too immense to handle, claiming the age of 18 is the age when students devote themselves fully to thegaokao [university entrance exam], with many who cannot handle the pressure commiting suicide. She says that if marital pressure is added into the mix, teenager might not be able to cope. Weibo user mermaid琳 has questioned how many 18-year-olds and college students actually have to ability to be financially independent and raise children.
Those who do support lowering the age point out that people can just choose to not get married at 18. Some think that age has nothing to do with maturity anyway.
陈小青Irene: This would not be protecting us who can make our own choices. It would protect those in rural areas, the girls who are forced to be married for a couple of years before they lawfully obtain marriage certificates. Making the marriageable age older strips those girls protection of law.
Irene is not the only who thinks that adjusting the age would better protect girls in less developed regions and traditional families…
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