The New Marriage Law of 1950 allowed women in China to be able to divorce for the first time in China, which allowed women to leave husbands who had these extramarital affairs.
Sudden industrialization in China brought two types of people together: young female workers and rich businessmen from cities like Hong Kong.Some rich businessmen start relationships with these women, known as "keeping a second wife" (bao yinai) in Cantonese.The relationships can range from just being casual sexual transactions that are paid for by the businessman to being long term relationships that develop into something more.The lives of women in China have significantly changed throughout reforms in the late Qing Dynasty, the Chinese Civil War, and rise of the People's Republic of China, which publicly committed itself to gender equality.Efforts the new Communist government made toward gender equality were met with resistance in the historically male-dominated Chinese society, and obstacles continue to stand in the way of women seeking to gain greater equality in China.
The arrangement of a marriage involved the negotiation of a bride price, gifts to be bestowed to the bride's family, and occasionally a dowry of clothing, furniture, or jewelry from the family of the bride for use in her new home. aimed at family revolution by destroying all former patterns . and building up new relationships on the basis of new law and new ethics." Xiaorong Li, a researcher at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland, asserts that the Marriage Law of 1950 not only banned the most extreme forms of female subordination and oppression, but also gave women the right to make their own marital decisions.John Engel, a professor of Family Resources at the University of Hawaii, argues that in order to redistribute wealth and achieve a classless society, the People's Republic of China established the Marriage Law of 1950. As Engel argues, the law also encouraged sexual equality by making daughters just as valuable as sons, particularly in regards to potential for old age insurance.Article 8 of the 1980 Marriage Law states, "after a marriage has been registered, the woman may become a member of the man's family, or the man may become a member of the woman's family, according to the agreed wishes of the two parties." More recently, there has been a surge in Chinese-foreign marriages in mainland China, with data showing these types of marriages are more common in women than in men.In 2010, there were almost 40,000 women registered in Chinese-foreign marriages in mainland China.In comparison, there were less than 12,000 men registered in these types of marriages in the same year.In 1950, polygamy was outlawed and it seemed, for a while, that extramarital affairs were unheard of.