Marriages in China

Topics: Marriage, Love, People's Republic of China Pages: 6 (1337 words) Published: May 18, 2013
Research plan into the history of 'arranged' marriages in Chinese society and outline of possible methods which can be used to analyse other factors also contributing to the marriage decline.

Different countries have different customs and traditions in regards to love and marriage. In the western society we live in, the

popular assumption about love and marriage is that they are equal, with marriage being a decision based on an individual

couple. However in many other societies around the world, marriage acts as an extremely important ritual and the

fundamental means of creating bonds between different families or predecessors. Marriage is not only the merging together

of common individuals, but the merging of one family to another, in a bond regarded as 'mutually' beneficial to the increase

of fortune and power for each side. As an important way of merging bonds between families, the interests of marriage are

often considered to be too great to allow young adults to select their own partners.

The establishment of marriage is found in nearly all societies in the world, this fact clearly reflecting the importance of

reproductive and sexual functions in human life. In the history of marriage in China, traditionally, Chinese people married

through the arrangements of their parents or most important family elders. This idea of an arranged marriage, made decision-

making and finding a 'suitable' partner, a tactical opportunity for parents to choose a spouse for their child, as someone from

whom they felt they could gain social, political or financial benefits in the long term. As Jack. M. Potter's book 'China's

peasants' expresses, "The law did not substitute the necessity to form marriages on a basis of love, rather the law takes it for

granted that marriages will be formed in a moral Chinese way, in a chinese cultural context and this is not a context which

defines romantic love as an element in marriage choice" - (page191). However after years of control, and with an anti-

arranged marriage campaign that began with the 'New cultural movement', came an increasing public demand for own-

choice marriage partnerships and 'free love'. During the peak of the May Fourth era, at a time when the 'New cultural

movement' was operating, this marked a significant turning point during which the traditional method of arranged marriage

was to be completely threatened and overpowered by the Western ideas of free-choices and was supposed to be

recognised as a more modern foundation for people to follow. However, what this 'marriage revolution' brought to the modern

Chinese society, was not only unprecedented freedom, finally being able to choose a partner for themselves and an

extraordinary sense of romance and love, but it also brought with it, confusion, worry and disturbance.

With an ever fast-growing market in China and recent decrease in numbers of marriage, the overall objective of this research

is to allow us to develop a better understanding into the ideas set out by the Chinese communist party and whether arranged

marriage was in fact a long term benefit or disadvantage to the current Chinese society of today. It will also provide research

into other potential factors affecting this gradual decline in numbers, with elements such as the amount of impact a booming

economy and higher education have on the people.

With a long lasting tradition of repressive arranged marriages, and recent reports showing a staggering population of

249million unmarried young adults in urban cities, such as Shanghai, I have broken down clearly, the list of objectives I

would like to achieve during this paper:

1)I would like to use this research paper to gain a more in depth understanding about this long lasting tradition in China,

where the ideas originated from and the thoughts behind this, what were they...
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