State Council approves expansion of cross-regional marriage registration to encourage tying the knot
Published: May 18, 2023 10:57 PM
A newly married couple outside the marriage registration office in Beijing's Chaoyang district on February 14, 2023. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A newly married couple outside the marriage registration office in Beijing's Chaoyang district on February 14, 2023. Photo: Li Hao/GT

China's State Council has approved the expansion of an inter-provincial marriage registration pilot program to 21 provincial-level regions across the country, a move welcomed by the migrant population, who no longer need to return to their hometowns to register their marriage. 

The program will be carried out in places including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, as well as North China's Hebei Province, East China's Anhui Province and South China's Hainan Province, the State Council said in the announcement.

Under current regulations, marriages must be registered at a registry office located in the same region of household registration of the bride or the groom. Now in the pilot areas, people living in regions outside their household registration can register their marriages where they live, the announcement reads.

The pilot program will last two years from the date of approval. During the pilot period, the Ministry of Civil Affairs should guide the pilot regions to further strengthen and upgrade the management of the marriage registration system  and make marriage registration more digital.

The national integrated government service platform should be given full play, and information sharing among departments should be strengthened, according to the announcement by the State Council. It also asked regions to improve the marriage registration information database, ensuring registration accuracy.

These measures will provide great convenience for people, and they are being launched to adapt to the new trend of population. People now live and work in different places from their household registrations, and this has become normal, Song Jian, a demographer from the Center for Population and Development Studies of the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday.

It is also an implementation of the decision announced by the central government on the third-child policy, supporting measures of 2021 in which it promoted long-term and balanced population development, calling for "taking marriage, childbirth, parenting and education into consideration as one to effectively solve people's concerns," Song noted.

A Shanghai-based resident surnamed Huang told the Global Times that she remembered that she had to take a three-day leave from work to go back her hometown of Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province, to complete marriage registration. The pilot program indeed provides convenience to the migrant population, Huang said. 

China registered 7.643 million marriages in 2021, down 6.1 percent from the previous year, data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed.

China has been making efforts to build a marriage-friendly environment. Civil affairs agencies in several cities have announced that they will accept marriage registrations on May 20, 2023, despite it being a Saturday when such offices are usually closed. Many Chinese couples choose to register their marriages on May 20, as "520" is pronounced like "I love you" in Chinese.

An employee surnamed Li from the Hefei local civil affairs agency in Anhui Province told the Global Times that the office will work on May 20 to welcome young couples.

The China Family Planning Association announced ahead of the International Day of Families on May 15 that it would be launching pilot projects in 20 cities including Handan, North China's Hebei Province and Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province to build a new-era marriage and childbearing culture, vigorously creating a child-bearing-friendly social environment.