Based on the judicial archive of the Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region, this article examines the Border Region’s divorce law practice in the context of the Chinese Communist Revolution.
Despite the withdrawal from the Soviet’s radical approach to divorce during the Yenan period, women were encouraged by various Revolution-introduced changes to exercise the right to divorce, and their failure or success in divorce litigation was closely associated with their respective positions or statuses as defined in connection with the Revolution.
On the other side, male peasants, the major social force of the Revolution, experienced a downward movement in the marriage market, and their encounter with Gongjiaren in divorce litigation revealed the gap between the ideal of marriage as anticipated by the lawmakers and the marriage market in the reality. To a large extent, this tension contributed to the development of a mediation-focused judicial system, which would deeply influence the civil justice system of the People’s Republic of China.
Schoppa Keith. (2000) The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History New York: Columbia University Press p. 96.
Barlow Tani. (1991) “Theorizing Woman: Funv Guojia Jiating” (Chinese Women Chinese State Chinese Family) on Genders Number 10 Spring 1991 pp. 133-160.
Diamant Neil. (2001) “The Anatomy of Rural Family Revolution: State Law and the Family in Rural China 1949-1966” in Perry Keller ed. Chinese Law and Legal Theory. England: Dartmouth Publishing Company Limited p. 185.