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State media plays defense over marriage legislation controversy
Senior official weighs in on “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”; Ambassador says China ready to reciprocate if Washington shows goodwill
1. An affiliate of the Overseas Edition of People’s Daily issued a commentary Saturday in defense of a new regulation on marriage, battling criticism that the move violates people’s freedom of divorce.
The commentary, released by XiaKeDao（侠客岛）, said the aim of the “cool down period” was to address “rising cases of frivolous divorces that undermine the stability of families.”
The so-called “cool down period” is a 30-day-long period between applying for divorce and obtaining divorce certificate. According to a Ministry of Civil Affairs guidance circulating online, both parties must present themselves at the marriage registration authorities and express consent after the “cool down period” to obtain the certificate.
The commentary denied allegations that the new law would hamper people’s “freedom of divorce”, saying “the freedom of divorce does not mean absolute freedom. The freedom of marriage is not an absolute freedom either. If the law can set a minimum age for marriage at 22 for male and 20 for female, why can’t a cool down period be set for divorces?”
China Women’s News, the official newspaper for All-China Women’s Federation, echoed XiaKeDao in a commentary titled “Remain cool-headed about the cool down period”, quoting Xiamen University professor Jiang Yue as saying “For couples facing a marriage crisis, the law requires them to cool down for 30 days, truthfully speaking that’s not a long time.”
The commentary also quoted an expert’s opinion as saying that the reason the new law faced backlash on line was because “web users often took individualistic and micro views, emphasizing on the private nature of marriage, pursuing personal liberty and satisfaction, while experts and legislators took a macro view, emphasizing the public effect of marriage, prioritizing the value of justice and preservation of social order.”
Judging from heated comments on Weibo, many web users have yet to cool down.
2.Le Yucheng, the no.1 ranking Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, weighed in on the so-called “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy” when he addressed a forum Saturday in Beijing.
Le said the term is “a misunderstanding of Chinese diplomacy”. “It’s another narrative trap to prevent us from fighting back when we were physically or verbally abused.”
The clarification struck a similar tone with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who responded to a question from CNN in May that in face of deliberate slander, China will “absolutely fight back forcefully”.
Le also called on the academia present at the forum to improve their messaging to the global audience, encouraging them to tell China’s success stories including controlling the Covid pandemic, eliminating poverty, protecting the environment and tackling corruption.
3.For those of you wondering what direction Sino-U.S. relationship will take as Donald Trump is set to leave the White House, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai offered a clue Thursday at the Annual Conference of the Institute for China-America Studies.
“If the U.S. government is ready to reverse the course, we are ready to look at it,” Cui said in answering a question from Steve Orlins, adding “good faith for good faith, goodwill for goodwill.”
“I don't think that China should just do something to please anybody here,” Cui said.
This newsletter is penned by Yang Liu, a contributor to Pekingnology.