Melanie Kathleen Chilley and Robert David Cole have become the first foreign couple granted a marriage certificate by authorities in Guangzhou since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
On Saturday, Huang Pingxin of the Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau handed the red marriage certificate to the British couple.
Cole, who works for a European illumination appliance company, was sent to Guangzhou last October and Chilley joined him six weeks later. They decided to register their marriage in China, which is allowed by British law and by the new marriage registration regulations promulgated last autumn.
According to the regulations, foreign couples can register their marriage with the Bureau of Civil Affairs by providing passports, certificates of unmarried status and certificates that their home country recognizes marriages registered in China.
This last requirement is a stickler for many. The Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau reports that many foreigners wish to wed here, but that their home countries do not recognize the legality of marriages registered abroad.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn August 17, 2004)