|婚外情在中国 A Chinese Affair|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/08/17 15:21 《Speak 2 Me》|
Adultery and divorce are on the rise in China
Qing thought she was truly happy. She had a university degree, a great job, a new apartment in Shanghai and a new husband. Home alone one day, however, Qing found some suspicious e-mails on her husband’s computer. Were they junk mail or evidence her husband was having an affair? Should she delete them and hope for the best? Or should she confront her husband, knowing that it might lead to divorce? Or should she go even further, and take revenge by having an affair of her own?
Like Qing, many other women (and some men, too) are discovering a downside to China’s economic growth. Increased personal incomes among the growing middle class are leading an increasing number of spouses looking outside their marriages for pleasure. While hard numbers are hard to come by, there’s little doubt that men and women are having affairs in record numbers: dating websites for married people are all the rage, and private detectives specializing in tracking straying spouses have more business than they can handle. Suspicious spouses are even buying specially-designed cell phones which can track the user’s location and let others secretly listen in on voicemail messages.
And for those who find their fears were justified, many head straight to divorce court. Over two million couples are expected to divorce in China this year, with Shanghai leading the way. The divorce rate in China’s largest city is 2.5 times higher than the national average, with over 40 percent of divorcing couples claiming their split was directly caused by one or both partners having an extra-marital affair.
However, proposals to make adultery a criminal offense have met little popular support. Instead, revisions to the marriage law make it easier for the spouse to collect damages in a divorce settlement. It seems that no matter how suspicious or slighted spouses are, they’d rather see their partner pay out of their pocket than end up in jail.