Communists Kill Marriages with Eminent Domain


Divorce fever sweeps a Chinese village:

Farmer Yan Shihai was happily married for more than 30 years. Then late last year, seemingly out of the blue, the 57-year-old grandfather and his loving wife got a divorce.

Within months, all three of his adult children and their spouses also split up. So did almost every other married person in Yan's village of 4,000—an astounding 98% of Renhe's married couples officially parted, according to the local government….But instead of tension or tears, the couples waiting in line at the local registry to end their marriages were practically jolly. They believed they were taking advantage of a legal loophole that allowed them to get an extra apartment.

The backstory: The Chinese government has been feeding its construction boom by seizing farmland, and "the villagers figured that if they were going to lose the land that had supported them for generations, they should at least try to get a better deal….As they understood the compensation deal, each married couple would receive a small two-bedroom apartment in return for their land and farmhouse. Those divorced would get a one-bedroom apartment each. The villagers figured that would be a better deal, that they could live in one apartment and make a little extra income from selling or renting out the extra one."

Once the authorities figured out what was going on, they told the divorcing villagers they'd have to pay for the extra apartments if they wanted them. But they didn't give back the farmland. In the meantime, a bunch of those fake divorces turned real.