Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Historical Studies; Political Studies

Project Advisor 1

Robert Culp

Project Advisor 2

Michelle Murray

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The First Chinese Marriage Law was a civil marriage law passed in the People's Republic of China on May 1, 1950. It was transformative because the Marriage Law was a radical change from existing patriarchal Chinese marriage traditions. It was also highly political because it sharply reflected ideologies about class struggle, land reform, Marx and Leninism, which were prevalent in the Chinese Revolution. The New Marriage Law with its revision of family relations did not happen in one night, but through a long process. According to Neil Jeffrey Diamant, in 1931, “Marriage Regulations” was promulgated in the party’s embattled “soviet” in the rural province of Jiangxi, provided Article 1 a totalistic condemnation of the “feudal” Chinese family; The 1934 Marriage Law was employed as a means to mobilize women to support the revolutionary cause. The basic idea of abolishing the “feudal” family system still remained unchanged. It was not until 1949 when the CCP (Chinese Communist Part) took control of the state that they started to implement the new vision of family structure and relationships. The 1950 New Marriage Law was a revised version of the Marriage Law that had been used in Jiangxi Soviet and the northern borders.[1] This new law continued calling for the “abolishment” of the feudal marriages, and for the first time promoted the idea of monogamy, love, free choice, the willingness of two parties, and equal rights for both sexes. The formulation and implementation of Chinese Marriage are the two complicated questions that I want to dig into more. I wonder how the New Marriage Law was influenced by the May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Nationalist Party, the Soviet Union, and Chinese revolutionary legacy. In this project, I hope to figure out what the New Marriage Law is, find out each strategy for each question, and figure out the 1950 New Marriage Law’s position and significance in Chinese history.

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