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China Won't Register Same-sex Marriages

China is not prepared to register any marriage between people of the same sex, but will allow AIDS patients to marry if certain requirements for their marriage are met, a senior Chinese civil affairs official has said.


An adult male and female in love need only to provide their ID cards and residence booklets, and sign a statement that they are single and not related before registration, said Zhang Mingliang, director of the Department of Grassroots Government Units and Community Development under the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) Tuesday afternoon.


"Even a couple with infectious diseases or AIDS may marry if they so wish," Zhang said, adding that marriage is still prohibited for insane persons.


"Of course those people with epidemic diseases should receive medical treatment in accordance with relevant laws and regulations," Zhang said, "but the new regulations on marriage registration have no special restriction on marriage involving such people."


It is estimated that the number of AIDS patients in this most populous country had topped one million by the end of 2002.


China unveiled its new, and more relaxed regulations on marriage registration on Monday.

The new regulations dissolved the long-held requirement for approved certificates from the employers of those wanting to get married or divorced.


"Certificates from the employers violated, to some extent, the principled policy of the freedom of marriage," Zhang said.


In fact, observers acknowledged that the ongoing reform of the country's labor system and a growing population flow in the market economy had contributed to the slackening of the existing rules.


The new regulations, consisting of six chapters, or 22 items, will replace the old version published in 1994 and take effect as of Oct. 1.


Officials from the MOCA, the ministry in charge of China's marriage registration, said that certificates from the employers would, nevertheless, still be required for those wishing to get married before Oct. 1 this year.


(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2003)

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