D is for divorce – you need to pass an exam in China!
HOW many tests and examinations must a person sit for throughout their life?
There are so many when they are a student. They have to be tested before getting a driving licence or a certificate for handling certain equipment and machinery. And in some companies, a person must do well in a test before they can secure a job or a promotion.
Now, even to end a marriage, one has to go through a written test.
But for this one, nobody is aiming for a high score.
In Lianyungang city in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, the Donghai county’s Civil Affairs Bureau has come up with a divorce test.
The bureau handles marriages and divorces, among other things.
It explained that the test was to give couples a chance to reconsider their break-up plan.
“It is for them to review their relationship. A score of 60 and above means the marriage can still be saved,” it said.
The test paper is divided into three sections. The first has 10 questions, worth four points each, covering basic information such as the birthdates of spouse and parents-in-law, date of marriage, spouse’s favourite food and how the couple divide the household chores.
The second part has four questions, giving a maximum total of 40 points.
Here, the couples are required to write down their happiest and most unforgettable moments of the marriage, their biggest conflicts and differences, and the good and bad things they have done for the family.
In the last section, they have to give their definition of marriage and family, the reason for seeking the divorce, and future plans.
The first couple to sit for this test have two children. The wife scored the full 100 marks but the husband had zero.
Believing that the woman still has deep feelings for her husband, the Civil Affairs Bureau declined to endorse the divorce application that day and advised the man to reconsider the plan to split up.
“We want to know the real problems between couples who want to divorce,” said Liu Chunling, director of the bureau’s marriage registration office.
The divorce test has sparked heated debate among online users, with some complaining that the authorities are interfering in people’s private lives.
“They have no power to restrict the freedom of marriage,” wrote one netizen.
Says another, “Divorce is between two persons. The Civil Affairs Bureau just has to stamp it. Why take the trouble?”
Many people admit that they will intentionally give wrong answers to all the questions so as to ensure that the divorce will go through.
However, some others agreed with the bureau, saying the test can help couples to calm down and encourage them to reminisce about their good times together.
The Donghai Civil Affairs Bureau is not the first government agency to introduce the divorce test.
The test paper was drafted last year by Wang Shiyu, a judge of the Yibin People’s Court in Sichuan province. When handling marriage disputes, the judge would only grant a divorce to couples who both scored 60 marks or less.
But the procedure was scrapped due to overwhelming public criticism.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, over 11.4 million couples registered for marriage in 2016. The same year, more than 4.15 million pairs went their separate ways.
At some places, the courts have imposed a cooling-off period, hoping that the couple will change their minds.
The Chinese officials are creative in tackling “negative issues” such as high divorce rates and traffic offences.
Although the country has sufficient laws to address these matters, the authorities prefer to “educate” the people instead of punishing them.
In several cities, jaywalkers have their faces appear on huge electronic billboards or are made to direct traffic with the cops at major junctions.
The traffic police at some places in Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi and Sichuan provinces have adopted an even more unusual tactic to educate those who break minor traffic rules.
The culprits are made to write about their mistakes and post them on Moments, a WeChat function similar to Facebook.
The posts must receive a certain number of “likes” from their friends before the police will let them go.
“I was flagged down by police for riding against traffic, I’m exposing myself… police said I need to get 30 ‘likes’ before he lets me go, please help, thank you.” Such posts have been circulating on social media platforms recently, causing rounds of laughter among netizens.
Most online users have given the thumbs up to the police, saying this punishment is more effective compared to a small fine.