An absurd and tragic case
Updated: 2014-02-19 07:05
A district court in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, recently annulled a marriage after it was found that the woman had "married" her biological father to get him a Chengdu hukou or household registration. Though the incident has made the woman and his father a laughing stock, it points to a graver story, says an article on gmw.cn. Excerpts:
Chinese media reports say the woman, known as Lin Li, is in her 30s and has got a Chengdu hukou. Her father who still lives in his hometown, which the reports have not named, fell seriously ill last year. When his medical bills depleted the family's savings, Lin tried to help her father get a Chengdu hukou, which would have made him eligible for medical coverage under the city's social security network.
But the man failed to meet the criteria for elderly parents in need of their children's help to seek residency and medical care in cities.
To overcome the problem, Lin decided to "marry" her father and even got a marriage certificate earlier this year. But when her father still couldn't get a Chengdu hukou, Lin wanted a "divorce". She, however, could not do so because an uncontested divorce only works for valid marriages, while her "marriage" - between lineal relatives - is forbidden by Chinese laws. So Lin had to turn to the district court to annul the "marriage".
However, instead of only blaming the father-daughter duo for the absurdity, we should also consider their helplessness. Also, the local civil affairs department should be pulled up for issuing a marriage certificate without properly verifying the facts.
The incident, more importantly, reveals the social security gap between urban residents and their rural counterparts in the urban-rural dual structure.
(China Daily 02/19/2014 page9)