Order of the President of the People's Republic of China
The Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the amendment to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China, adopted at the 21st Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China on April 28, 2001, is hereby promulgated and shall go into effect as of the date of its promulgation.
President of the People's Republic of China
April 28, 2001
Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the amendment to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China
(Adopted at the 21st Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on April 28, 2001)
At its 21st Meeting, the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress decides to make the following amendments to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China:
1. The second paragraph of Article 3 is amended to read: "Bigamy shall be prohibited. Anyone who has a spouse shall be prohibited to cohabit with another person of the opposite sex. Family violence shall be prohibited. Maltreatment and desertion of one family member by another shall be prohibited."
2. One article is added as Article 4, which reads: "Husband and wife shall be loyal to each other and respect each other; family members shall respect the old and cherish the young, help each other, maintain the marriage and family relationship characterized by equality, harmony and civility".
3. Article 6 is changed to be Article 7 and the second paragraph is amended to read: "(2) if the man or the woman is suffering from any disease which is regarded by medical science as rending a person unfit for marriage".
4. Article 7 is changed as Article 8, which is amended to read: "Both the man and the woman desiring to contract a marriage shall register in person with the marriage registration office. If the proposed marriage is found to conform with the provisions of this Law, the couple shall be allowed to register and issued marriage certificates. The husband-and-wife relationship shall be established as soon as they obtain the marriage certificates. A couple shall go through marriage registration if it has not done so".
5. Article 8 is changed as Article 9, which is amended: "After a marriage has been registered, the woman may become a member of the man's family or vice versa, depending on the agreed wishes of the two parties".
6. One article is added as Article 10: "the marriage shall be invalid if:
"(1) either of the married parties commits bigamy;
"(2) there is the prohibited degree of kinship between the married parties;
"(3) before marriage either of the parties is suffering from a disease which is regarded by medical science as rending a person unfit for marriage and which has not yet been cured after marriage; or
"(4) one of the married parties has not reached the statutory age for marriage".
7. One article is added as Article 11: "where marriage is contracted by coercion, the coerced party may appeal to the marriage registration office or the People's Court for annulment of such marriage. Such an appeal for annulment of marriage made by the coerced party shall be submitted within one year from the date of marriage registration. Where the party concerned whose personal freedom is illegally restrained, such an appeal for annulment of marriage shall be submitted within one year from the date of the restoration of the personal freedom."
8. One article is added as Article 12: "Any marriage that is invalidated or annulled is null and void from the very beginning. The parties concerned are devoid of any rights or duties of a husband and a wife. The property acquired by them during the period of their cohabitation shall be disposed of by agreement between the parties; if they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment on the principle of giving consideration to the unerring party. Where property is to be disposed of because marriage is invalidated as a result of bigamy, the rights and interests in respect of the property enjoyed by the party under lawful contract of marriage may not be encroached on. With regard to the children born by the party concerned, the provisions of this Law on parents and children shall apply."
9. Article 13 is changed as Article 17, and its first paragraph is amended: "The following property acquired by the husband and the wife during the period in which they are under contract of marriage shall be in their joint possession:
"(1) wages and bonuses;
"(2) proceeds of production and business operation;
"(3) incomes of intellectual property rights;
"(4) property acquired from inheritance or presentation, with the exception of such property as stipulated by the provisions of the third item of Article 18 of this Law; and
"(5) other property which should be in their joint possession".
10. One article is added as Article 18: "The property in the following cases shall belong to one party of the couple:
"(1) the property that belongs to one party before marriage;
"(2) payments for medical expenses received by one party who suffers physical injury, subsidies for living expenses granted to the disabled subsidies, etc.;
"(3) the property to be in the possession of one party as determined by will or by an agreement on gift;
"(4) articles for daily use specially used by one party; and
"(5) other property which should be in the possession of one party".