Fewer than 100 couples out of 2,000 who have married since the new marriage registration rules took effect Oct. 1 have undergone medical checks, the Shenzhen Economic Daily reported Monday.
The new rules drop the previous requirement for medical reports for a marriage registration. Lawmakers say that although newlyweds now have the option to decide whether to have a medical check, they are encouraged to do so for the sake of their health and their future offspring.
The number of registered marriages surged in October as some people who had planned to tie the knot before this month postponed their registration to take advantage of the simplified procedures.
The civil affairs bureau reported more than 2,000 registrations so far this month. On Oct. 1 alone, 693 couples were registered.
However, most newlyweds have opted not to visit a hospital. Less than 50 couples in Luohu and Futian districts who married in the first half of October received medical checks. The figures were zero in Bao'an District and 10 in Nanshan.
But during late September and early October last year, each hospital in Shenzhen conducted pre-marital medical examinations for more than 20 couples each day.
Medical workers insist that skipping a medical check could sow a seed for an unfortunate marriage. During the past several years, hospitals in the city have helped potential newlyweds discover and treat infectious diseases ranging from hepatitis B to tuberculosis, venereal diseases like gonorrhea and lues, and hereditary diseases such as thalassemia and leukemia.
Doctors say these diseases can only be discovered by a hospital examination and early discovery would only benefit couples.
Reports from other cities also pointed to a worrying plunge in the number of medical checks among newlyweds after Oct. 1. In the northeastern city of Harbin, only 0.3 percent of new couples had health checks before tying the knot in the first half of this month. In Nanchang there were only three out of 600 and five out of 2,515 in Jinan.
(Shenzhen Daily October 21, 2003)