2006 saw around 1.9 million Chinese couples separate, a seven percent increase or 128,000 couples than the year before, reported the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Civil affairs bureaus nationwide handled 1.29 million divorces last year while another 622,000 divorces were fielded through the courts, the report said.
Five provinces in particular proved ill for wedded bliss with Liaoning, Jiangsu, Shandong, Henan and Sichuan each reporting over 100,000 divorce cases in 2006.
However, the number of couples getting married also increased with 9.45 million marriages celebrated nationwide, up 1.2 million year-on-year, according to the report.
Although divorce is traditionally discouraged in China, the last two decades have seen divorce rates soar as women become more independent and divorce procedures are lightened.
Unlike most western countries which track the precise number of marriages that end in divorce, the Ministry of Civil Affairs chooses to release statistics based on the number of divorced couples per 1,000 people. This figure saw a small rise to 1.46, from 1.37 a year earlier.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2007)